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IT is a well-known fact that in all of our large cities 
a great number of children are employed in various 
street occupations ; but I think few realize how much 
actually depends upon the labors of these little 
" Child Toilers." In the papers here given, all the 
facts stated, and all the illustrations, are drawn, not 
from imagination, but from real life. 

And, as appropriate to the season, we give first in 
the series a sketch of our little street venders in 


Since early morning, like some wee dryad of the 
forest, little Anna has stood there in her bower 


8 Child Toilers. 

of green. It is a bitter cold day, and a north corner, 
down in Quincy Market, is certainly not a favorable 
place for tempering our bleak Boston east winds to the 
"shorn lamb;" but Anna is a brave little girl, and 
drawing the old water-proof over her head she man- 
ages by vigorous clappings and stampings to keep 
head, hands, and feet in a tolerable state of comfort. 
Then she is so interested in the arrangement and sale 
of her pretty Christinas greens that she doesn't stop 
to think much about herself or the weather. 

All around her little stand, by the great stone 
pillars, are many "rivals in trade; "for since the 
week began, hundreds of teams have come in from 
the country with all manner of " green things." Close 
beside her, stand some fragrant spruces and firs that 
came from away " down east," for although many of 
the suburban towns, especially Randolph, Needham, 
Stoughton, West Wareham, Walpole, Lincoln, North 
Abington and Natick, furnish our city with much of 
the so-called "small " trimmings, it is chiefly from the 
grand old forests of Maine, that our finest Christmas 
trees, and the " large " trimmings for church and hall 
are obtained. I am told that one season three thou- 
sand trees were shipped from Bangor and Portland 
to a single firm on Broad street, and many " Down 
East " farmers come, year after year, to Quincy 



Christmas Greens. 9 

Market with trees they have felled on their own 

If any of these trees become injured by transporta- 
tion, they are generally stripped, and the twigs woven 
into festoons; while those that still preserve their 
native symmetry, are sold, according to size and 
quality, from twenty-five cents to two and three dollars 
apiece. As no rent is demanded for the use of " out- 
door" corners, these countrymen can sometimes 
clear hundreds of dollars during the holiday season 
especially, if in addition to their trees, they bring, 
as many do, a large assortment of wreaths, crosses, 
anchors, and other church emblems made by tasteful 
hands at home. 

Of course they are liable to have these smaller 
wares stolen, as they have no place to store them 
over night; but "forewarned" they generally come 
" forearmed," and a common custom among them is 
to have a large box closely fitted to their vehicles 
where all the choice greens can be securely kept 
under lock and key. 

Here are two lads, evidently brothers, who have 
come from a long distance. They have brought only 
trees, and rough boughs ; so, to save the expense of 
stabling their poor old horse the greens are all taken 
out of the hurdles and deposited in a heterogeneous 

io Child Toilers. 

mass upon the side-walk. Then, while one brother 
stays to arrange and look after their "stock in 
trade," the other goes home with the empty sledge. 
It is a little curious that among all these venders 
of Christmas greens, you will seldom find an Italian 
boy or girl ; although, in other street occupations, 
these dark-eyed children of the south out-number 

even in Boston the German, Irish and American 

Besides those who sell Christmas greens on the 
corners and in the markets, there are other children 

mostly Germans in our different mission-schools, 
especially in the one connected with Dr. Ellis's 
church on Berkeley street, who gather evergreens 
and berries, before the snow comes, in the fields and 
woods just about Boston. These the mothers and 
older sisters at home make up into wreaths, crosses, 
and other emblems ; and a few days before Christinas 
the children go out upon the street and sell them 
from door to door. 

The florists seldom, if ever, employ boys and girls 
to sell their holiday decorations; and whenever or 
wherever you see these little out door merchants, you 
may be pretty sure they are selling on their own re- 

But we are wandering away from little Anna, and 

Christmas Greens. n 

it is her "store" that I want you to notice, particu- 
larly. Perhaps you have already recognized her, for 
the picture we give you is taken from life, and all last 
summer she stood at this very same corner, selling 
mints and herbs. Her dark hair and eyes certainly 
remind one of the little Italians down in Ferry and 
North Bennett street ; but Anna is of German parent- 
age, and since the father's death, her mother has 
been obliged to go out to service, while a kind old 
aunt who lives in one of those dark tenement houses 
on Hanover Avenue, has shared her hard earned home 
with little Anna. 

Weeks ago, before the drifting snows came, the 
men and boys of the family gathered these bright 
evergreens feathery "princess pine," and the "run- 
ning Jennie" that clambers everywhere with her 
" seven-leagued boots," sprays of the Roxbury wax- 
work, too, snow-white immortelles, and the dazzling 
red berries of the bitter-sweet they found down in the 
Waltham Meadows ; and could you have looked into 
Anna's home those long November evenings, you 
would have seen the whole family busily at work 
upon the fragrant greens sometimes, " till the wee 
small hours " of night. For it takes a deal of time 
and patience to make these pretty emblems as any 
of my little readers know, who have tried the work 

12 Child Toilers. 

themselves, for home and school decoration ; and 
the modest price that Anna asks for her wreaths 
and crosses, is but a just compensation for the labor 
bestowed upon them If she is successful in her hol- 
iday sales, she will go to school through the remain- 
ing winter months ; and then when the " dandelions " 
come, you will see her again at the corner. And let 
us not forget that little Anna is but " one of many." 

On the opposite corner of the " Agricultural Ware- 
house " you will find another little vender of Christ- 
mas greens whose story is no less interesting. Liz is 
a littlje German girl, too ; but unlike Anna, she has 
been brought up a Roman Catholic. Her father and 
mother are both living, but the family are poor ; and 
all through the year, little Liz, the youngest and the 
only child now at home, helps bravely, by her street 
vending to keep the dreaded " wolf from the door." 
At one time she attended an evening school; but 
looking down with reddening cheeks upon her 
shabby dress and tattered shawl, she said in answer 
to my question : 

" No, ma'am I don't go now they all made so 
much fun of me ! " 

I'oor little Liz I 

Will no one share with her, and the large class she 
represents, a drop from their "over-flowing cups?" 

Christmas Greens. 13 

These hard times have affected the sale of Christ- 
mas greens, more than one might imagine ; but, as a 
rule, the demand for them increases every year. And 
truly what better cheer can we give our homes, than 
a breath of all these green things that with mute but 
eloquent lips are always praising the Lord ? Some 
say that the custom of decorating our houses and our 
churches with these fragrant boughs, is borrowed from 
the old Druids, who sought thus to shelter their wood 
nymphs from the biting frosts ; however that maybe, 
it is among Christian nations only, that we find the 
true signification of Christmas greens; for are they 
not all emblems of the true life of life that still abides 
in the heart though all without is cold and dead? 
Years ago, in the old Puritan families of New Eng- 
land, any festivities at Christmas time would have 
been as severely denounced as that first banjo in 
church ! But as the years went by, there came, from 
over the seas, Norse and Swedes and happy German 
families who brought with them all manner of quaint, 
beautiful customs that the litlle American children 
looked upon with wonder and delight. From their 
English cousins they had heard about the great yule- 
log that burned from Christmas eve to Candlemas ; 
the mistletoe bough under which so many kisses were 

14 Child Toilers. 

stolen ; the Glastonbury hawthorn that always blos- 
somed on Christmas morning ; the games on Twelfth- 
night; and the sweet carols that the little chimney- 
sweeps sang in the streets. 

But the legends about the Christ-child, -and the 
beautiful trees with their waxen tapeis and their 
wonderful fruit of toys and bon-bons this was 
something altogether new to Boston children, a hun- 
dred years ago. Now, aside from the large quantities 
sold in Quincy Market, on Boylston street corner, and 
other well-known localities in the business part of out 
city, every florist sells, upon an average, four or five 
hundred trees at Christmas time, together with an 
indefinite number of wreaths, crosses and other em- 
blems. In addition to the evergreens already men- 
tioned, the holly (originally holy tree), the kalmia, 
or laurel, the inkberry, a great variety of mosses, 
ferns, grasses and immortelles are always in demand 
for Christmas decorations ; and since we have only a 
poor substitute in this country for mistletoe, all oui 
large florist establishments send directly to England 
for this magical parasite, that is said to possess 
especial power when found growing upon oak boughs 
Of the many varieties of roseum or "everlasting" 
flowers, I am told, that large quantities are grown 

Christmas Greens. 15 

upon the waste lands at Cape Cod ; then they are 
taken to wholesale establishments in Paris and Lon- 
don, made into all sorts of designs, and frequently 
adorned with artificial colors, before they again cross 
the water to be sold in our city as choice importations. 
The natural colors of these " immortelle " flowers, 
are white ( which needs, however, a thorough bleach- 
ing before use), a brilliant yellow, and, among the 
" amaranth " family, various shades of crimson. 
Sometimes, especially when the wreaths, crosses 
. etc., are intended for memorial purposes as well as 
for Christmas decorations, the natural tints are pre- 
ferred; for white is always in demand, and yellow in 
France, is considered a badge of mourning and used" 
at funerals as we would use white or black. There 
is, among the "roseums," a shaded orange that is 
not natural, but you can readily tell whether the color 
is artificial or not by noticing the separate flowers 
which always lose somewhat of their perfect " rose " 
form, when subjected to the dyeing process. Aside 
from this, it is really a very easy matter to tint the 
stiff petals of "everlasting" flowers; and although, 
as we said before, most of these decorations are sold 
as imported articles, the work can be done (and 
probably is done, in many instances), at our own 
dye-houses. Indeed, quite a field is opened here, for 

1 6 Child Toilers. 

home ingenuity | for by the use of a camel's hair brush 
and good, durable colors, skillful fingers can produce 
far prettier effects, than any we find among the so 
called imported designs. 

It is a good thing for both the florists and the 
street venders when Christmas comes upon a Satur- 
day, for then the whole preceeding week can be devoted 
to the display and sale of Christmas greens. Should a 
Sunday come between, the " out door " corners must 
" shut up shop " and put their wares out of the way ; 
but sometimes quick sales bring the largest profit ; 
and the night before Christmas always presents one 
of the liveliest sights imaginable down in Quincy 
Market. Then every scrap of green is eagerly gath- 
ered up and sold by handfuls ; for there is always the 
" late " customer for Christmas greens as for every- 
thing else ; and many an enterprising little urchin, by 
careful " gathering up of the fragments," succeeds in 
turning at the eleventh hour, literally a goodly 
number of pennies for Christmas morning. 


DID you ever stop to think what a curious sort of 
life our little newsboys lead ? Taking a car 
one afternoon, just below the Herald office on Wash- 
ington Street, I was greatly entertained by a bevy of 
these little fellows, who came trooping in and soon 
filled up all the vacant seats about me. 

Their arms were full of the latest edition, fresh 
from the press ; and with a nimbleness of ringer that 
could only have come from long practice, they quickly 
folded the damp sheets, slung them across their shoul- 
ders, and then, with hands jingling the change in their 
pockets, they began to talk over the day's losses and 
gains, and the splendid sales in store for them be- 


i8 Child Toilers. 

cause of the " big sensation," all with a shrewdness 

and keen business insight worthy of State Street or 
the Exchange. 

It was amusing and painful both this precocious 
child-talk. The largest boy among them was scarcely 
older than little Tom, who comes every morning to 
his papa for spending-money, and who reckons its 
value simply by the amount of toys or candies it will 

What would our little boy think, I wonder, if his 
breakfast, his dinner, and his supper to say noth- 
ing of lodging and clothes, depended upon the 
pennies he could earn each day ? 

Yet among the three hundred newsboys who throng 
our Boston streets, I find there is scarcely one upon 
whose exertions does not depend his own support, and, 
in many instances, the maintenance of a whole 
family 1 

It was only to-day that an instance came to my no- 
tice deserving especial mention. Down by Snow-hill 
Street is a poor Italian family, consisting of father, 
mother, and (if I remember rightly) five children. 

Two of the boys are licensed to sell newspapers, 
but at one time last winter the elder brother was 
taken ill, and the father was sick in bed for months. 
During all this time the whole burden came upon lit- 

The Newsboys. 19 

tie Antonio, who is only twelve years old, and so very 
slight you would think 4iim much younger. 

But the brave lad at once " took in the situation," 
and by rising early and working late, he managed to 
earn enough each day from the sale of his papers to 
support them all till father and mother were able to 
work again. 

Then there is little Joseph Dondaro, whose shrill 
voice you may have heard on the corner last evening, 
as he shouted his "Herald! Five o'clock!" He is a 
tiny. boy, with jet-black eyes, hair to match, and a 
nut-brown complexion that is not wholly due to dust 
and tan. For Joe is of Jewish parentage, and a hard 
life the little fellow has had ever since he can remem- 
ber. His mother died about a year ago, and the 
wretched drunkard he calls " father " is so cruel to 
Joe and his little sister,* that the children were only 
too glad when, some months since, he took his hand- 
organ and, leaving the little ones to look after them- 
selves, -wandered off into the country nobody knew 

Since then Joe, with all the dignity of ten years, has 
taken upon himself the entire responsibility, and tried 
to fill the place of father and mother both to his little 
sister, who is only six years old. 

Upon an average he can earn by the sale of his 

20 Child Toilers. 

papers three dollars a week j out of this sum he pays 
for the rent of their one room on Endicott Street, 
seventy-five cents per week, while the remainder 
just think how small ! must feed and clothe them. 

Down on North Margin Street is a neat brick 
building known as the " School for Newsboys and 
Bootbtacks," and here it was that I first saw little 
Joseph. For, by the conditions of his license, every 
minor, in our well-regulated city, is expected to attend 
school at least two hours each day during the school 

Many of our public schools admit such pupils, and 
I think the Eliot school alone contains some forty 
newsboys; but as "two-hour" pupils need separate 
classes, they cause, of course, a deal of irregularity 
in graded schools ; and so, some ten years back, two 
special schools one on North Margin Street, under 
the charge of Miss Brackett, the other in East-street 
Place, under Miss Tailor, were opened to give our 
newsboys, boot-blacks, and little street-peddlers the 
benefit of thorough instruction at such hours of the 
day as would least interfere with their " trade." 

Before the city fathers, however, had thought of 
this excellent arrangement, certain kind ladies had 
established, in the old church on Chauncy Street, a 
free day school for these little street venders ; and 


The Newsboys. 23 

had it not been for the benevolence, zeal, and success- 
ful labors of those early workers, I doubt if the pres- 
ent fine schools would ever have had an existence. 

The school in East-street Place, which is composed 
almost exclusively of newsboys, numbers between 
twenty and thirty pupils, and is open from nine w 
eleven in the morning, and from twelve till two in the 
afternoon. Nearly all the boys here are of Irish 
parentage, while in the school on North Margin 
Street, which is somewhat larger, by far the greater 
proportion are Italians. 

It is an interesting sight to watch these little street 
Arabs poring over their well-thumbed books ; and as 
I studied their bright, intelligent faces, I couldn't help 
thinking what a safeguard through the day these 
precious two hours may be to them ! 

For besides learning to " read, write and cipher," 
the kind, judicious, Christian training they are con- 
stantly receiving in these excellent schools is really of 
more value to them than any amount of mere book 

Here is a little fellow who was pronounced incor- 
rigible when first brought in from the streets; but 
patient instruction, and the kind, firm control of his 
teacher, have already wrought such a change in him 
that Johnny is now considered one of the brightest, 

24 Child Toilers. 

best-behaved boys in the whole school. He and his 
little brother Michael are both licensed newsboys, and 
upon them depends the main support of the family, 
for their father, too, is a miserable drunkard. 

Questioning one after another, your heart aches for 
these little " child toilers," who must needs learn so 
early in life all the " rough and tumble " of this 
strange, work-a-day world. Nevertheless, there is a 
bright side to the picture, for, thrown upon their own 
resources, and stimulated by the thought of weaker 
ones who depend upon them, these little fellows early 
develop a sturdy self-reliance, and a brave fortitude 
that in after-life is of inestimable benefit to them. 

Here, for instance, is little Robert Kelly, only 
twelve years of age, who helps support a family of 
eight persons. His father gets occasional jobs when 
he can, at the coal wharves j but, after all, it is upon 
little Robert that the steady maintenance depends. 
At home, he is his mother's " right hand man " in 
doing all sorts of chores; and at school his neat, tidy 
appearance, and good conduct, are especially praise- 

Another boy, John Falvey, by name, is fourteen 
years of age, and the oldest of four children. His 
father is scarcely ever in a condition to earn anything, 
and the mother, with her home cares, can do but 

The Newsboys. 25 

little. So the support of the family comes upon John 
and his youngest brother, who have bravely taken up 
the burden together. These few instances might be 
multiplied by a score of others ; but I think enough 
have already been given, to show my readers how 
much depends upon the labors of this class of little 

To be sure, their behavior upon the street, is not 
always what it should be. Sometimes, I am sorry to 
say, they are rude, noisy, and otherwise disagreeable 
to passers-by. There is one sad picture that haunts 
me as I write, and I wouldn't show it to my " Wide 
Awake" readers, only that I want them to know all 
about the temptations and dangers that beset our 
little newsboys. One night, not long ago, a tiny lad, 
not more than nine years old, was found must I 
write the ugly words ? just beastly drunk, under the 
steps in Williams Court! Perhaps it was his first 
taste of the vile liquor at all events, let us hope it 
will be the last but the lager beer wagons offer 
great temptations to the hungry, thirsty boys, and I 
fear that many of them are frequent customers. Bad 
conduct on the street, however, is the exception, not 
the rule, among our Boston newsboys. The bright 
badge they wear upon their jackets, with their num- 
ber and " Licensed " upon it, is in itself a guarantee 

26 Child Toilers. 

of good behavior ; for before obtaining this from the 
city government, the boys are on probation a certain 
length -of time. If they prove worthy, and promise 
faithfully to comply with the terms and conditions of 
a " Minor's License ; " application is made for them, 
by some responsible person, to the Board of Alder- 
men j and in due course of time they receive their 
license papers. Each boy has his own number, and 
by the payment of one dollar, the silver badges are 
given them, which they promise to wear conspicuously 
in sight, and, on no condition, transfer, exchange, 
borrow or lend. If at any time they wish to give up 
their licenses, these badges are returned, and their 
money is paid back to them. 

Happening in, one day, at the office on Pemberton 
Square, I watched with not a little interest, a group 
of " candidates " as the boys are called before they 
have received their badges. The little fellows eagerly 
crowded round the officer's desk, each with his own 
story to tell, and one after another they received their 
license papers and bright silver badges. One boy, 
who stood apart from the rest, had come to give up 
his license and badge ; but as the latter was some- 
what marred by careless usage, I noticed he received 
but seventy-five cents for it. Another little urchin 
who could hardly reach up to the desk on tip-toe, laid 

The Newsboys, 27 


down the two half dollars he had brought, and re- 
ceived not only his badge but a silver quarter beside. 
This greatly surprised and delighted him; but Mr. 
Wright, who has charge of these matters and -is always 
a kind friend to the boys, explained that the badge he 
had given him, though " second-hand," would answer 
every purpose, and the extra quarter was greatly 
needed at home. Opening the big books where all 
the boy's licenses or rather copies of them are 
filed, one gets an insight into the workings of this ad- 
-mirable system. " A gentleman came to me the other 
day," said one of the officers in charge, and told me 
how a certain newsboy had cheated him. " I had no 
pennies," the gentleman went on to say, " but taking 
one of the boy's papers, I handed him a twenty-five 
cent piece which he ran around ttie corner to change. 
Of course, that was the last of the boy and the twenty- 
five now, sir, don't misunderstand me I don't 
care for the missing change, but I do care for the 
morals of your newsboys ! " 

" Begging the gentleman to wait a few moments, I 
looked over my books," said the officer, "found the 
boy's number which the gentleman had noticed upon 
his badge, and in the course of fifteen minutes the 
lad stood before us. He hung down his head when 
we began to question him, and I feared, at first, that 

28 , Child Toilers. 

the boy was guilty; but the alacrity with which he 
handed the gentleman his change, and his repeated 
declarations that he ' came back to his stand just as 
quick as he could, but the gentleman had gone,' quite 
satisfied the latter, and we both concluded it was 
better to let the little fellow go. But you can see by 
this instance what kind of reins we hold over the 
boys, and how quickly any misdemeanor on their part 
renders them liable to forfeiture of ' license.' " 

In selling papers, the old proverb holds true it is 
the " early bird that gets the worm," and a deal of 
competition is shown among these enterprising little 

The several editions are hardly out of press, before 
our newsboys are " on the spot ; " and Herald, Jour- 
nal, Globe, Advertiser, Traveller, Times, Transcript, 
and Post are sounded through the streets by three 
hundred pairs of lungs, long before the ink is dry. 

But if you want to see a genuine " rush," look into 
Williams Court some afternoon between the hours of 
three and four. For the " five o'clock edition," as it 
is called, though really ready for distribution an hour 
or two earlier, is the most important issue of the day ; 
and the "hand to hand" scramble then, for the first 
sheets as they come from the printers, is an exciting 
scene, well worth witnessing. 

The Newsboys. 29 

In the peculiar, weird light of the narrow Court, 
the little urchins rushing, tumbling, screaming, hurry- 
ing hither and thither, and reaching pell-mell one over, 
the other, look more like little elves than actual chil- 
dren ; but while you are wondering where they have 
all come from, so suddenly, and why it is they do not 
get into some inextricable tangle, there comes an 
unexpected lull in another instant the court is 
deserted, and up and down Washington street, on 
Tremont Row, at the depots, the ferries, the different 
street corners, the entrance to theatre, concert and 
lecture rooms, on the horse-cars, the Common, the 
gardens, the various public squares, the evening trains 
no matter where you turn, the newsboy's shrill cry 
pierces your brain. 

'During "elections," the little fellows are frequently 
up all night; and any "special" news matter, as a 
great fire, a murder, or a disaster at sea, is always 
locked upon as a windfall, because of the " extra " 
sales it will bring. The Sunday papers all give them 
a larger percentage of profit, than the dailies; but 
through the week more Heralds are sold upon the 
street than any other of our city journals. 

It would be interesting if we could trace out the 
histories of our little newsboys, as, one after another, 
they outgrow their street occupations, and seek more 
manly employments. 

30 Child Toilers. 

Sometimes, they learn a trade, enter shops* or set 
up business for themselves; and to one lad who has 
proved himself especially worthy, I am told a fine 
position has been given, in one of our leading news- 
pnper establishments. The life of a newsboy, as you 
see, is certainly one that is full of temptation, full of 
hardship ; but always proves a good training school, 
if right influences can -only be thrown about the 



"1\ TY eyes, Mike! here's a job sure's fun ! Wake 
1V1 up, old fellow, I say!" 

" Heigho ! What's up, Jack ? " yawns sleepy Mike 
from the farthest corner of the old mat that has 
served them both for a bed. 

"Big snowstorm reg'lar nor'easter foot and 
half deep, and not a sidewalk shovelled yet ! Hurry 
up, old Lazybones, or Teddy and Jim'll be ahead of 

It is hardly light, and Jack, as he rubs off a corner 
of the frosty pane, can see nothing in the street below 
but one unbroken mass of pure white snow. How 
pretty Ferry Court looks in its new dress ! Why ! 
even the old ash-heaps, the refuse barrels, and the 
broken bottles, stand out like so many groups of 
carved marble. 


34 Child Toilers. 

But that isn't what Jack is thinking about, as he 
stands there at the window with hands in his pocket ! 
The truth is, the little fellow is cold, hungry and 
sleepy he was out last night till nearly midnight 
selling newspapers, and though he wouldn't miss 
these extra ''jobs "for the world, he doesn't quite 
relish the idea of starting off without his breakfast. 

" I say, Mike, do yer think they'll give us a bite at 
the big house 'round the corner ? -" 

" Like enough, Jack, there's a jolly fat cook there ! 
but hold on a minute. It's dry snow just like 
powder. We'll need the big broom and shovel both." 

"All right. Start along, Slow-coach, I'll take one 
and you take t'other." 

And Jack, foremost in everything, leads off with 
the great iron shovel shouldered like a musket, while 
Mike, with the old twig broom, lags on behind. 

Half way down the street they meet little Nicholas 
Grasaro, who means to get a " job," too, before it is 
time to give his customers a "shine." They are old 
comrades the three boys, for though Nicholas is 
only a boot-black not " up " in the newspaper trade 
like Jack and Mike, they all belong to the same " fra- 
ternity," and meet daily at the " Newsboys' and Boot- 
blacks' School," down on North Margin Street. 

Jack and Mike have the true -Irish brogue, but 

The Shovel Brigade. 35 

Nicholas is an Italian boy, as you can tell at once 
when you get a full look at his face. These extra 
" jobs " he is always on the lookout for, at least, -he 
well understands how much the extra pennies are 
needed at home ; and I'm sure I don't know what 
would become of the family if it were not for little 
Nicholas. The poor father has long been helpless 
from paralysis, and I fear he will never leave his bed 
again. The mother tries to earn what she can, and 
at one time she had a fruit-stand. But there are 
many days when the sick man needs her constant 
care, and Nicholas' little sister is hardly able to look 
after the stand all by herself. 

So they must depend upon what Nicholas can 
earn ; and the " shines " notwithstanding the nice 
place the little fellow has, down in Brattle Street 
seldom "net" more than four dollars a week. An 
extra job, therefore, is well worth the trouble of rising 
an hour or two earlier to secure, and Nicholas knows 
he will have beside what poor Jack and Mike know 
nothing about a warm welcome when he gets 

But the clock has struck seven, and the boys' 
tracks in the snow are already followed by larger and 
heavier ones. 

" We mustn't let the city men git ahead of us 1 " 

36 Child Toilers. 

shouts Jack, as he makes a bee line to the "big house 
'round the corner." 

A ring at the area bell, a smiling assent from the 
jolly-faced cook, and Jack and Mike begin work in 
good earnest. 

" I say, though, didn't that steak smell bunkum, 
Mike ? " 

"Yis, and the coffee what steamed on the stove! 
Let's hurry up and p'raps we'll get a smack ! I won- 
der how Nick gets along with that one little shovel of 
his ? Let's lend him a hand if we git through first." 

Jack demurs a little at Mike's las't proposition, but 
scrapes on with dogged persistency. 

" Whew ! it make's a fellow's fingers ache, though ! " 
exclaimed Mike, as he stops a moment to blow vigor- 
ously upon the purple tips. If he hadn't looked up 
just then he wouldn't have seen the tall beaver. But 
look up he did, and there was the tempting target ! 
Quick as a flash the broom was dropped, the snow- 
ball fired, and off rolled the new beaver way across 
the street, on a revolving tour of exploration. And 
off started the repentant little Arab, the very same 
instant, in hot pursuit ! I'm glad to say he didn't 
take the offered dime from unsuspecting young Har- 
vard, for it was pure mischief nothing else that 
prompted this sudden episode. 

The Shovel Brigade. 37 

All up and down the street, on either side, the 
Shovel Brigade are now busily at work. Yes, and all 
the neighboring streets, too, are alive with these ani- 
mated silhouettes for just like shadow pictures the 
black figures stand out on the white background ! 

If you open your window and listen, the scraping 
shovel, the swirring brooms, and the occasional thuds 
of snow sound, in the crisp electric atmosphere, not 
unlike the chords of a distant " street band." 

Here and there you will note the bright badge of 
some wide-awake policeman, who is on the lookout 
for neglected sidewalks; for although it is a well- 
known regulation in our good city that, if a snow- 
storm comes at night, every pavement must be clear 
before nine o'clock the next morning, there are some 
sleepy households that need constant reminders. 
Should, the snow come in the daytime it must, accord- 
ing to law, be removed in the space of an hour after 
it has stopped falling an excellent rule, if it were 
only carried out ; but often the work is delayed, or 
so poorly done that treacherous spots are left, and 
many serious accidents occur in consequence. 

Jack and Mike, however, have finished their " job " 
in the most approved style this morning. To be 
sure, in spite of its depth, it was a light snow dry, 
feathery, and far easier to remove than the wet, heavy 

38 Child Toilers. 

snows that sometimes come ; but the boys are faith- 
ful little fellows, and whether the work be light or 
heavy, they always do their " level best." That is 
why the owner of the big house was so ready to 
employ them this morning ; he watched them from 
the window last time, and rerrfembers how well they 
managed the troublesome drifts that blew around the 
corner. He is a kind-hearted man, and Jack is not 
doomed to disappointment this morning ; the jolly- 
faced cook has orders to have a good hot breakfast 
all ready for them when the work is done ; and then, 
besides, there is a bright silver dime waiting on the 
table for each of them. 

Little Nicholas is just as hungry and just as deserv- 
ing, but all he receives for his hard v/ork is a nickel 
five cent piece ! Well, that, to be sure, is better than 
nothing it will buy a loaf of bread at the baker's 
round the block ; but why couldn't the thoughtless 
millionaire have opened his heavy purse a bit wider to 
poor little Nicholas ? 

The boy cannot bear to go home with this meagre 
sum ; so, while Jack and Mike are feasting in the warm 
kitchen, he looks about for another "job." This 
time he is more fortunate ; a sweet-faced old lady 
taps on the window to him, for she has seen his faith- 
ful labor across the way somebody always sees 

The Shovel Brigade. 39 

faithful labor sooner or later, and Nicholas' black 
eyes fairly dance when she offers him twenty-five 
cents for cleaning steps, pavement and upper 

Two hours' later the boys, rather tired, to be sure, 
after their, hard morning's work* but all aglow with 
exercise and excitement combined, meet in the little 
school-room and compare notes with their comrades. 

They are a whole hour late, and all truancy or un- 
necessary tardiness is always punished as it deserves ; 
but this morning the kind teacher is quite ready to 
excuse them, for she knows all about " her boys," 
and is as glad as they are when these extra jobs 
come, and they can carry home a few extra pennies. 

I have given you a peep into two of these homes ' } 
Would you like to see another? Come then with- 
Louis, another little Italian boy, who has earned fifty 
cents this morning by " shoveling " and " shining " 
both. He is in a hurry to tell the good news, and 
scampers up the four rickety flights, two steps at a 

It is one of the darkest, dingiest, most unwhole- 
some rooms in the whole tenement, but it is all the 
home that Louis knows anything about. A rusty 
cooking-stove, with clothes drying on the line just 
over it, an old mattrass in the corner, a table with the 

40 Child Toilers. 

remains of cold potatoes, maccaroni, etc., still upon 
it, one or two broken chairs, and the baby's cradle, 
make up the furniture of the room. 

But five little children, ranging all the way from 
six months upward, fill whatever empty spaces are 
left, and unless you step carefully you may tread on 
some of the little creatures ! The mother, who is 
mending a tiny garment while its owner is asleep, 
welcomes Louis with a sunny smile. No matter how 
tired or discouraged she is, there always seems to be 
a rich fund of love in this mother's heart for each and 
all of her little brood. 

The father it is the same old story, but just as 
sad nevertheless, loves his bottle better than he 
does his helpless family : and Louis, ever since he 
was a wee baby, has seen so much of the misery 
caused by strong drink, that I hope he will take warn- 
ing and never touch it himself. 

That bright half-dollar! How the mother's eyes 
glisten as Louis twirls it on the table and asks her 
what he shall buy first! A hard question surely, 
when so many things are needed ; but hunger is the 
loudest call after all, and there are a dozen eager 
mouths all waiting to be fed. Louis will earn an- 
other " fifty " perhaps, at his stand this afternoon ; 
but unexpected jobs, like the morning shoveling, will 

The Shovel Brigade. 41 

always seem like especial "god-sends." 

Just think how many miles of payement, all within 
the limits of the city, have been traveled to-day by 
this indefatigable Shovel Brigade ; yet there is a deal 
ef "after work " still, for the crow-bar and pick-ax- 
recruits. These last are generally strong, able-bodied 
men employed by the city authorities ; and there is 
scarcely a day after the first snow comes when you 
will not find them at work somewhere. Often the 
horse-car tracks become clogged, or the gutters need 
attention. Then, the snow itself, after it is shovelled 
from the pavements must be carted, or rather sledded 
off ; and this work gives employment to a large num- 
ber of men and boys throughout the winter months. 

Truly it is an " ill wind " that blows nobody any 
good," and when these driving snowstorms come, 
spoiling the skating for so many boys and blocking 
the trains, let us remember Jack and Mike, Nicholas, 
Louis and all their little comrades, and the men with 
families who are eagerly waiting for a " job," and al- 
ways hail the " falling skies " with undisguised de- 


Did you ever put your hand into a " grab-bag " 
If so, you know just how little Rosa feels as, 
standing on tip-toe, she pokes her long stick down into 
the ashes ! 

There are just fifty of them great, dusty, ugly bar- 
rels waiting with open mouths on each side of the 
open alley-way between Boylston and Newbury Streets, 
and Rosa with her hook and her bag is the very first 
one " on the spot " this morning. By and by the city 
carts will come, but just now the field is all her own, 
and the little girl goes to work with an energy worthy 
some better employment. 

" Hullo ! What's this ? " 

An old coffee-pot, sure enough, with the handle 
knocked off 1 Rosa looks it all over, taps it with her 
knuckles, holds it up to the light, and considers. The 

The Little Ash-Pickers. 43 

bottom is sound, the cover tight. Yes, it is a deal 
better than the old one at home, so she tucks it into 
the old tow bag, and pokes again. Dear me ! what 
a fumbling there is this time ! The little red hood is 
all enveloped in dust as Rosa draws out, one after 
the other, a pair of old, battered boots, minus every 
button. But, beating out the ashes, she shoves her 
little bare feet into the discarded French kids, and 
pronounces them a " perfect fit." She will find plenty 
of buttons before she gets through with those fifty 
barrels, and with big needle and stout thread the little 
cobbler knows she can make the old boots " most as 
good as new. " 

It is the bits of half-burned coal that she came out 
so early for this morning breakfast can't be cooked 
till she brings her bag home but coffee-pots arid 
boots are not to be found every day, and Rosa is on 
the lookout now for new treasures. Here is an old 
hat that will do for little Tony ; and away down to the 
bottom of barrel number five gleam the shining sides 
of an old copper boiler ! With furtive glances up and 
down the alley, Rosa seizes this last " find," crams it 
into her bag, and scuffles off around the corner as 
fast as her heavy load and her new boots will allow. 
A copper boiler ! Just think what luck ! Why, it's a 
regular " bonanza '' at least, so the old junk dealers 

44 Child Toilers. 

say, and who should know better than they? Perhaps 
you wonder, as I did, what possible use could be made 
of an old boiler with the bottom burned off. It's a se- 
cret of the trade, but I will tell you, for that pretty gal- 
vanized coal-hod by the grate knows the whole story ! 
" Once upon a time " it was would you believe it ? 
an old dilapidated boiler itself ! But from ash-barrel 
to junk-shop, from furnace to hard-ware, it has gone so 
far up in the social scale that now even the stiff poker 
and tongs are quite willing to keep company with it. 

There is a heavy clatter down in the alleyway now, 
for the city carts have come ; and trudging just be- 
hind is a little tatterdemalion with an old basket on 
his arm. He helps the men put back the empty bar- 
rels, and for this service they let him look over the 
rubbish before it is thrown into the big blue carts. 
But little Rosa, as you and I know, has already had 
the " first pick," of five barrels, and Billy wonders he 
doesn't find much of anything for a while but bits of 
coal which Rosa hadn't time to take. Billy, by the 
way, is a famous little coal picker. Down by the 
wharves and the freight depots, he finds so many 
pieces that he doesn't have to depend upon the refuse 
of ash barrels ; although I see he -is very ready to 
take whatever he caa find here. 

One morning, just about light, there was an alarm 

The Litik Ash Pickers. 45 

of fire that started Billy to his feet at once. Now 
you must know that to run after the big " Steamer " 
is one of Billy's greatest delights ; but his passion for 
picking up coal is still greater, and hose wagon, 
steamer and all, were suddenly deserted that morning 
for a tempting ' dump," that caught his keen eye as 
he scampered down the street. An hour later, when 
the firemen came back, Billy's old basket was heaped 
to the brim, and I don't know but the enterprising 
little fellow will " set up trade " for himself, since he 
finds he can sell his coal for twenty cents a bushel. 

Perhaps my Wide Awake readers are wondering 
what the " dump" is, vthere Billy lays in his stock. 

Down by the Albany depot, in various vacant lots 
throughout the city, and over in East Boston, there 
are certain places where the city carts regularly de- 
posit their contents. These forlorn heaps of debris 
are the so-called ''dumps" and men, women and chil- 
dren may be seen busily at work here almost any 
hour of the day. Some collect old bones that they 
sell at half a cent a pound ; others take only paper 
rags ; and here is the little fellow who is on the look 
out for bits of old iron. 

It is curious to notice how much honor for each 
other's specialties there is among this ragged crowd. 
Every bag is as secure from pilfering as if it were un- 

46 Child Toilers. 

der lock and key ; and any man, woman or child, who 
dares trespass on somebody's else " dump" is looked 
upon as no better than a sneak and a thief. 

There seems to be scarcely anything in these mot- 
ley heaps that is not put to some use. Even old hair 
combings are straightened out and made into puffs, 
curls, frizzes, and nobody knows what ! Old bot- 
tles find a market, too, and bits of leather, wood and 
rope are always carefully gathered up. Sometimes, 
gold and silver coins, spoons, forks, rings, watch- 
charms, and various other pieces of jewelry, are 
found ; but it is not often that such articles reach the 
"dump" even when through carelessness they find 
their way into ash barrels. 

There are many wonderful stories told ; but, after 
all, it is by the careful " gathering up of fragments " 
not by any special "luck" that these ash-pickers 
manage, sometimes, to get sixteen and twenty dollars a 
week just from their " pickings ! " 

In a single season nine tons of coal were collected 
at the East Boston dumps, and this is but one item 
among many. 

Here is a ragged old man with his wheelbarrow 
and empty bags ; let us follow him and see what he 
will find to-day. Little Tommy, only nine years old, 
is his constant companion, and I don't know what 

The Little Ash-Pickers. 47 

the old man would do without the bright eyes and 
nimble fingers of this tiny boy. 

" I say, daddy, we'll have to hurry, for I can hear 
the big carts coming; there's lots going to the 
' dump ' to-day ! " 


And the old man puts his hand to his ear as 
Tommy repeats in a higher sharper key the warning 
words. It is evident he hears this time, for the jog 
trot is suddenly quickened, and it is as much as 
Tommy can do to keep pace with the rattling, squeak- 
ing wheelbarrow. They are just in time to have the 
first " haul," and wit-h miser-like delight the old man 
crams into one bag every rag and scrap of paper he 
can find, while Tommy's smutty fingers are gathering 
up the coal. 

But look ! there is still another bag in the wheel- 
barrow yes, two more, that they mean to carry back 
" chuck full." Into one goes all sorts of rusty nails, 
old screws, broken locks, bits of wire, iron filings, 
etc. ; into the other is crammed anything that can be 
converted into firewood, such as old cigar and fruit 
boxes, pieces of rotten shingles, laths, chips, no 
matter what, so long as it can come under the head 
of "kindlings." 

You sec the old man understands " business;" he 

48 Child Toilers. 

sorts out his findings with as much care and method 
as a salesman arranges his new goods on shelves and 
counters. A sharp cuff on the ear, and Tommy sud- 
denly remembers that he has made a mistake. The 
old man has found two iron nails in his " paper bag," 
and such carelessness is altogether too much for any 
ash-picker's patience. Tommy hangs down his head, 
whimpers a little, and then goes to work again with 
tingling ears, but a better memory. 

All' day long they keep at work, wheeling the bar- 
row back and forth, till it grows too dark to pick up 
even coal. And when I tell you that for three whole 
years the old man and Tommy have worked together 
in this way, at this same old dump in East Boston, I 
think you will understand how it is they have been 
able not only to earn a living but to lay up pennies 
for a rainy day. 

At one time, the neighbors used to notice a little 
girl in man's hat and coat, who worked at a part of 
the dump not far from the old man and Tommy. 
Poor child! if you could have seen her and the 
wretched place she called home, I know you would 
have pitied and longed to help her. I believe she 
ran away, at last, from the cruel woman who beat her 
without mercy, and drove her out to work at the 
"dump," no matter how cold or how stormy the 
weather might be. 


Tue Little Ash Pickers. 51 

Sometimes the truant officers find dozens of chil- 
dren here among the ash-heaps in school hours ; in- 
deed it is a frequent excuse with a certain class when 
Ihey are late, or absent from school for a number of 
days, that they " hadn't no coal t'home, and so they 
had to go to the " dump" There is one little girl, 
I've forgotten her name who actually picked up 
all the coal used by the family from April till Novem- 

Down on Church Green, on the right hand side as 
you leave Summer Street, are a number of old junk 
shops that are well- worth a visit. Here it is that 
many of our little ash pickers find a market for their 
" treasures ; " and I'm going to give you a pict- 
ure of one just as I saw it, not a great while ago. 

The door was wide open, and the little, dark, low 
room was just packed way to the ceiling and way 
to the sidewalk with all manner of outlandish 
things. There were all sorts of broken tools, rusty 
bolts, nuts, chains, parts of iron railings, old kettles, 
pans, horse shoes, etc. ; then there were great tow 
bags crammed so full of paper rags that half of their 
many-colored contents were scattered on the floor, 
a.nd thinking of the mischief a single match might do 
here I didn't wonder the junk dealer had hung up 
in a conspicuous place the warning words, "No 
smoking allowed." There was only a narrow space 

52 did Toilers. 

left just in the middle of the room, and even here 
you could scarcely take a step without treading upon 

A short distance from this junk shop is another, 
where one window is rilled with tailor "chips," and 
reading the sign over the door you will see that this 
shop makes a specialty of "paper stock." A little 
farther on and you will find a "Black and White 
Smith," whose doorway is curiously decorated with 
old iron cables, broken anchors, rusty kettles, pans, 
and old, old things I had never seen before " on sea 
or land." 

They tell me these old junk dealers make heaps of 
money out of the seeming rubbish brought to them by 
the ash pickers ; and I think it is easy to understand 
when we consider how many things in daily use are 
made from this same old "junk." 

For our pretty superfine stationery, our books, yes, 
even the pages of " Wide Awake," maybe, are made 
from the motley " paper stock ; " while from bits of 
melted glass come our window panes, and our lamp 
shades ; and as to the old rusty metal, why, all man- 
ner of kitchen furniture is made from that ! Truly 
the little ash-pickers and the old junk dealers ought 
to have their reward, for they help not a little in car- 
rying out that twice-repeated command to "gather up 
the fragments that nothing may be lost." 


SHE was selling grapes the first time I saw her, 
great purple bunches that looked so tempting 
I didn't wonder half her stock was gone, though it 
was still early in the day. Such a happy face as it 
was under the old brown hat ! It had been a very 
successful day, and little Amelia had "good news" to 
carry home. 

By-and-by I'm going to tell you all about her home, 
her good auntie, and the little cousins who seemed to 
her like brothers and sisters ; but, first of all, I want 
to give you a picture of little Amelia herself. 

Perched on her rough board seat, you will find her 
almost any day at her special corner, which is far 
down on " new " Washington Street. 

You know a deal is said, now-a-days, about the " nui- 
sance " of these street stands ; but I don't believe any 
skittish horse ever took fright at this innocent little 



Child Toilers. 

fruit tray. O, it takes up such a " wee bit " of room 
at the broad corner ! And, as to interfering with the 
trade of the big fruit stores why ! what are the few 
cents our little girl earns at her stand, compared to 
the sales made every day by confectioners, corner 
grocers, provision merchants, and a host of others 
who do not call themselves " fruit dealers " at all 1 
O, Consistency, thou art a jewel, a rare jewel ! 

But little Amelia doesn't mean to borrow any 
trouble. Nobody disturbed her yesterday, and no- 
body has disturbed her to-day. Really, that tip end 
of Washington and Elm Streets seems as much her 
very own as if she had in her pocket the " warranty 
deed" for it, all signed and witnessed. 

" And a very good corner it is," she says to her- 
self, remembering how many people, on their way to 
the Boston and Maine depot, stop just here for a half 
dozen oranges, a couple of lemons, or a nice ripe ba- 
nana to eat on the way. 

Sometimes, she can make five dollars a week, but 
that is only when the weather is fine. 

Come with me away down to the North End and I 
will show you what becomes of all those precious pen- 
nies that little Amelia picks up at the " corner." 

Such a rickety id tenement house as it used to 
be ! But now, a >ore manly landlord has cleansed 

The Fruit- Venders. 5 5 

and put into repair this miserable building, and we 
need not be afraid to-day to go up the new clean 
stairway. Two rooms, as neat as neat can be, with a 
few pictures on the four walls, the commonest of 
prints to be sure, but pretty pictures for all that ; a 
nicely scoured floor, a few hard chairs, and a bed in 
one corner of the larger room where Amelia's uncle, 
a helpless cripple, lies all day long. This is the home 
to which our little fruit girl is so eager to carry the 
news of a successful day. Her own father, in a fit of 
despondency, shot himself ; and then there followed 
long weary days and weeks when the poor mother, 
utterly discouraged and heart-broken, grew paler, 
thinner, weaker, until at last, death came with its 
longed-for rest, and little Amelia was left without fa- 
ther or mother all alone in the wide world! 

Well, the good auntie, who, with a helpless hus- 
band and four little children dependent upon her, 
had found ways and means to care for her sick sis- 
ter, now opened heart and home to poor little Amelia. 

So, ever since her mother's death she has never 
known what it was to be without some one to love 
and care for her, and that, I think, is one secret of 
her bright happy face ; for, if there is only " love at 
home," we can always work with a light heart and 
willing hands. 

56 Child Toilers. 

This fruit stand that Amelia and her auntie tend 
alternately, is the sole means of support of the whole 
family. And when we stop to think of the seven hun- 
gry mouths to feed, and the rent not less than eight 
dollars a month that must be paid for their rooms 
down on Mechanic Street, it is very easy to see what 
becomes of all the bright pennies. 

Such a brave, cheerful spirit as this noble-hearted 
woman has shown, ever since the sad accident that 
crippled her hard-working husband. He was a gar- 
dener, she tells me, upon a gentleman's place in Som- 
erville, and one day when pruning trees, he fell in 
such a way upon the sharp instruments that his spine 
was very badly hurt. That was four or five years 
ago and he has not been able to do a day's work 
since, indeed, I doubt if he is ever able to do any- 
thing more, but patient Mrs. Vicarro never com- 
plains of her hard lot. 

"God has taken care of us," she says, "and I am 
just as sure as can be He always will ! " 

To give her husband eveiy possible comfort and to 
keep a pleasant home for the little ones, has been her 
chief desire, and she has worked hard to obtain it. 
At first, she took in washing and ironing, but that was 
never so profitable as the fruit stand has been. For, 
among the Italians in Boston there are a number who 

The Fruit- Venders. 57 

are able to club together and obtain large. quantities 
of fruit at very low prices. 

The shrewdest one in the little circle is deputed to 
make the daily purchase. Much of the fruit is ob- 
tained directly of the importers at the wharves, who 
carefully assort it ; that which is likely to keep only 
a short time, being sold to the agents of the street 
venders at far lower prices than the fruit stores pay 
for the carefully selected fruits. 

North Market Street is also a busy scene early in 
the morning, many of the little fruit-sellers resorting 
thither to buy their daily stock-in-trade. 

" And I've always found good friends," says Mrs. 
Viccaro, whose cheery face fairly beamed as she 
told me how they had been helped over the " hard 

As I write, another picture comes up before me. 

It is late in the afternoon, and a ray of the bright 
golden sunset streams into the narrow court and rests 
lovingly upon a rough box of house plants, high up 
on the brick wall. In one window is a large English 
ivy, so green and thrifty I know its owner loves and 
cares for what is beautiful, but with this exception 
just see how forlorn and dreary it is this misera- 
ble, filthy Court ! 

There are all sorts of broken things scattered 

58 Child Toilers. 

about, and. in one corner an old umbrella man is look- 
ing- over his " stock in trade." Babies in arms, and 
little creatures just big enough to toddle about, crowd 
together upon the dirty steps, while their mothers 
strive to catch a breath of fresh air, and do their 
week's mending at the same time. Old grand- 
mothers are here, too, with funny looking caps ; and 
out of every window, almost, there are two or three 
unkempt heads peering down on the scene below. 

And oh, such a jabbering from top to bottom ! Of 
course, it is all in Italian ; even the babies don't seem 
to cry like other children. And there is one little 
black-eyed morsel with arms and feet strapped down 
to a board like an Indian pappoose, I was going to 
say ; but, dear me, it looks more like an Egyptian 
mummy ! 

" Her make straight," says the proud little mother 
in broken Italian. 

The baby looks up at us with eyes so big and so 
black and so round and so wise that we haven't a 
word to say. But when little Rosanna comes run- 
ning to us with her basket of fruit, we can better un- 
derstand what makes the ten-year-old child so very 
small and slight for her age. And did you ever see 
an Italian boy or girl that was not under size ? Poor 
little creatures ! This curious custom may possibly 


. The Fruit- Venders, 6 1 


help to make them straight and supple, but, hindering 
all muscular movement for months and months, how 
it must retard their growth and strength in every 

Rosanna Vorpiano ! Isn't that a musical name ? 
And doesn't the child look as if she had just stepped 
out of a "genre" picture? Her old checked ging- 
ham dress is partly covered by a little apron, tied be- 
hind with an old shoe-string; and the buttons on her 
dress, as diverse in^ color and __ shape as " Joseph's 
coat," give a very funny effect as she turns suddenly 
round into the broad light. It is a warm day, but she 
has thrown over her tight jet braids an old knitted 
hood black and purple, and the frizzy curls that 
blow about her forehead look like so many imps that 
have come out to frolic with her roguish black eyes. 

As she stands there, leaning against the steps with 
that old basket on her arm, half-filled with bright red 
apples, I long to put her upon canvas. ^ 

She has made fifty cents to-day, can't you hear 
the dimes jingling in her pocket, and to-morrow she 
means to start very, very early to market. 

Up and down Tremont and Washington Streets, 
through Temple Place, Winter, Bromfield Street, 
up long flights of stairs into offices and " composing 
rooms," and into scores of close rooms that swarm 

62 Child Toilers. . 

with heated and thirsty toilers, wherever she can 
find a customer little Rosanna goes, up and down, 
up and down, all day long. She doesn't aspire to a 
" stand " yet ; thinks she would like to go to school ; 
but I'm much afraid this roving sort of street-life 
will bring out all the " gypsey " in our little Italian 
girl and utterly unfit her for any kind of study. 

Oh ! there is so much want and suffering all about 
us ! Do my " WIDE AWAKE " readers realize, I won- 
der, how many of their brothers and sisters are toiling, 
all day long, just for a place to lay their head and a 
bit of bread to eat ! Amelia and Rosanna are not 
imaginary characters, what I have told you about 
them is true all through ! and then there are so 
many others like them ! Alike, and yet different, 
too ; for each of the three hundred fruit stands, scat- 
tered about our Boston streets, and every little basket 
peddler, have a story " all their own." 

And did you ever notice what a variety there is in 
the stands themselves ? Sometimes you will find 
them nicely painted, green seems to be the favor- 
ite color and, very often, the tray is placed on 
wheels so that it can be easily carried about. Then 
there is the big broad basket with its flat cover that 
serves for a table, while the under part is used as a 
sort of refrigerator. This is certainly more picturesque 

The Fruit- Venders. 63 

than the wooden tray, but I don't believe it is half as 

One day I watched with a deal of interest the 
" setting up of a stand " on the Common. It was a 
very modest affair two little saw-horses, and just 
a rough board thrown across, but everything was 
arranged in " apple pie " order. There was a nice 
white cloth to cover the uneven planks, and then, one 
after another, the little hand baskets were emptied of 
their contents. Of course, every apple and pear was 
duly polished with a bit of rag before it was laid on 
the cloth ; and, somehow, the biggest and fairest al- 
ways found their way to the top. 

At the main entrance to the Common, on Charles 
Street, is an old woman whose weather-beaten face 
shows a long apprenticeship in that trade. On cold 
days she protects herself from the bleak east winds 
by a wide long strip of black enamel cloth, which she 
fastens to the high fence just behind her ; and a very 
nice background it makes for her odd little stand and 
her picturesque self. As the weather changes from 
biting cold to scorching heat, old umbrellas are sub- 
stituted; but, no matter what the season may be, 
our fruit venders .will always be found at their 

To the passers-by, it may seem an idle, romantic 

64 Child Toilers. 

sort of life ; but they know nothing of the hard labor 
done at home, night and morning, to give this leisure 
through the day. In little baskets and crates and 
carts and wheelbarrows, all the unsoM fruit is carried 
home every night ; and every morning it must be car- 
ried to the " stand," and polished and re-arranged. 
And many are the stockings and mittens that have 
been knit by these indefatigable little women, while 
waiting for customers. 

The constant exposure to all sorts of weather ren- 
ders the fruit-vender's life anything but a desirable 
one ; still, to a large class of deserving poor, it offers 
one means of earning an honest livelihood. And, 
while these modest little stands do not interfere with 
public travel, it does seem as if our good city ought 
both to protect and to patronize them. 


"T_T AVE a ' shine,' mister ? Only five cents ! " 

A A It is a very small voice from a very small 
boy, and there, is such a crowd hurrying to and fro 
that little Fred can hardly make himself heard. 

But he has his regular customers who know just 
where to find him and who pay him twenty-five cents 
a week. And then that particular corner of his, down 
on Hanover and Blackstone Streets, is such a good 
stand that the little fellow seldom fails to earn forty 
or fifty cents each day. Sometimes, on Sundays, he 
can make from a dollar to a dollar and a half ; but 
then these are always considered " red letter days " 
for the whole bootblack brigade. 

Paul, an older brother, has a stand on Causeway 


66 Child Toilers. 

Street, and you would have laughed to see how the 
two boys managed when they first " set up trade." 

Of course there were the license papers and the 
bright silver badges (just like the newsboys' I told 
you about ) that they had to get from the city. But 
then, there was a great deal more to be done before 
they were ready to give. their customers a "shine." 

A rough pine box, that was the beginning of the 
" stock in trade " and since they both wanted one 
the two boys started off together. 

" I say, Fred, let's go down to the ' tobaker ' store 
on Causeway Street," suggested bright, black-eyed 
Paul. " Mebbe we'll find something there ! " 

" All right ! " shouted Fred. " And lookee here 
why not take a big long feller and go halves ? " 

Now, it does seem strange that an empty box 
should have cost the boys a single penny, but I know 
they had to pay ten cents for the particular piece of 
lumber Fred selected ; and when they had sawed it 
in two, the next thing in order was to have a wooden 
shoe, or rather a " last," put upon each half. 

With a good box of carpenter's tools they might, 
perhaps, have done the work themselves ; but to try 
it with a jack-knife was about as hopeless a job as the 
old woman undertook when she tried to whittle down 
a crow-bar into a knitting-needle. Lo, another ten 

The Bootblacks, 67 

cents or rather twenty cents, for you see there were 
two boxes to be mounted, was paid to the old shoe- 
maker who had done the job for other bootblacks, 
dozens of times before. 

"Ain't it nice, though?" exclaimed Paul, as he 
drew his little brown hand over the smooth white 

And, really, it did begin to look like business when 
the boys fastened the leather straps to their neat 
little boxes, slung them across their shoulders, and 
marched down Hanover Street merrily whistling 
" Mulligan Guards." 

Now, for the blacking. Should they patronize Bix- 
by, Day & Martin, or that new firm with the unpro- 
nounceable name ? It was a hard question to de- 
cide j but as Fred insisted that the latter was the 
best, all the boys said so ! Paul yielded the point, 
and for three cents each the boxes of blacking were 
bought and pocketed. 

"A ' dauber,' next ! hurrah for a ' dauber ' ! " shouted 

" And a ' shiner,' too ! " added Fred, as they 
counted out the last of the bright pennies their fond, 
hard-working mother had given them for " capital." 

" Dear me ! it will take every one," sighed Paul ; 
'' but then, we must have 'em ! " 

68 Child Toilers. 

" Of course we must ! " echoed Fred. " And then, 
you see, they'll last O, forever ! " 

Paul, however, examines the brushes very carefully 
before parting with those precious pennies. "For 
sometimes, you know," he whispered to Fred, " they 
do cheat a feller awfully with old moth-eaten things." 

Forty cents for the " shiner," a few cents less for 
the " dauber," and now their stock in trade is com- 
plete. No, not quite ; for they must each have a 
bit of carpeting, the careful mother says, to save the 
knees of their trowsers. This, however, needn't cost 
them a penny, for she has found two strips that will be 
just the thing. Yes, and here are two little over- 
alls, dark blue and snuff brown, that they can draw 
right over their jackets. Dear me ! how I wish all 
our little bootblacks had good thoughtful mothers 
like Mrs. Anato. 

But Fred and Paul are more highly favored than 
most of their comrades. In spite of poverty, they 
have a home and a father and mother to love and 
care for them ; while here is Antonio Deveroni, 
brought up in a bar-room ; and little Frank Donclaro, 
whose mother is dead and whose father is just a 
wretched drunkard. 

I want to tell you, by the way, more of Antonio ; 
and if you would like to know how he looks, just 

The Bootblacks. 69 

imagine Dickens' "Fat Boy," with jet-black hair 
banged over his forehead, and those great, liquid, 
Italian eyes, that have just about the same expression 
in them, as a big Newfoundland dog's. Antonio's 
stand for blacking boots is down on South Market 
Street, and his home is in Ferry Court. But I always 
think of him just as I saw him at the North Margin 
Street school. 

He was nearly an hour late, and came creeping 
or rather rolling in, with a downcast, crestfallen 

" Job ! " was the only excuse he had to offer, 
and I'm afraid it wasn't any excuse at all ; for, if he 
began sawing wood at eight o'clock as he said, there 
was no reason in the world why he couldn't have left 
off when school-time came. The truth is, he is a lazy 
boy and doesn't like to study. But the few, firm, 
kind words from Mr. Wright, the city officer, who 
was waiting for the tardy boys, did far more good than 
any amount of scolding or whipping could have done. 
And I don't believe Antonio will be " behind time " 
again, for a very, very long while. 

Stupid and indolent, he is withal so good-natured, 
kind-hearted and generous, that he is a great favorite 
with the boys ; and really, there is the making of a 
noble man in Antonio. But, oh dear ! that dreadful 
liquor saloon down in Ferry Court ! Just as soon as 

70 Child Toilers. 

he is out of school and back from work, his father 
makes him tend at the bar, and unless some kind 
Providence interferes, I'm afraid the poor boy, so ea- 
sily influenced by good or evil, will be dragged down 
into what the sailors call the "Black Sea. :) 

Henry Gardella, the fine, manly boy who sits near 
Antonio, has, I am glad to say, far better influences 
thrown about him. When he came into the school, 
some five years ago, he didn't know his letters. And 
he was, moreover, such a wee bit of a boy that to 
reach the platform his teacher didn't, to be sure, put 
him into a pint-pot like the little man in Mother 
Goose, but she did perch him upon a big wash-basin 
turned upside down. Now, he measures nearly six 

I do wish you could hear him recite a lesson in ge- 
ography. You see he has come right from his stand 
at the Crawford House, and his smutty face and 
hands, his soiled shirt-sleeves, and old faded-out over- 
"alls are anything but becoming. Never mind ! He 
knows all about Asia Minor, can name all the rivers 
in Europe, tell you the latest source of the Nile, rat- 
tle off the lakes of British America, bound all the 
Western territories, and well ! tell you just about 
everything in geography that you don't quite exactly 
remember yourself. 

And just think, my little WIDE AWAKE scholars, 


The Bootblacks. 73 

how very few advantages these poor boys can have. 
Two hours of study each day through the school 
year, that is all, and very few can have even this 
after they are fifteen. For the licenses, making this 
time in school one of the most important conditions, 
are usually granted to boys between the ages of "ten 
and fifteen. After this, the newsboys, the bootblacks, 
and the little street peddlers, generally learn a trade 
or take up some kind of work that hinders any more 
school attendance. 

Such a ragged, dirty, little crowd as they are, this 
score or more of bootblacks, that daily gather in the 
small school-room on North Margin Street! It 
seems hardly large enough for newsboys, peddlers and 
all ; but as the school has two sessions, part come 
from nine to eleven in the morning, and the other 
half from one to three in the afternoon. 

Looking into their brown faces and great black 
eyes, you don't need to hear the strange outlandish 
names that show their Italian parentage. But I think 
it is a little curious that while our newsboys are 
made up of Germans, Irish and Americans, as well 
as Italians, these little bootblacks are, every one of 
them, Italian boys. To be sure, the whole brigade 
numbers only forty here in Boston, where our news- 
boys count up to, at least, three hundred ; but since 

74 Child Toilers. 

boot-blacking is, on the whole, so profitable, I wonder 
some of our enterprising little German, Irish, or Yan- 
kee boys have not taken up the business. 

Upon an average, Fred and Paul can each earn 
four dollars a week ; while it is seldom that a news- 
boy can make even when including the extra Sun- 
day sales more than three dollars. Still, the boot- 
black trade isn't quite so steady as the selling of 
newspapers ; for through the winter months the little 
fellows have but few customers ; and if they were 
not allowed to take up " inside jobs," many of them 
would find it hard to make a living. 

The licenses given to bootblacks by the city gov- 
ernment, always assign the places for their stands ; 
and they are not allowed to make any change unless 
by special permit. But if they are quiet and well-be- 
haved, no objection is made to their stepping into of- 
fices, saloons, depots, or hotel entrances in the neigh- 
borhood of their stands ; and it is in such places that 
the little bootblacks find a good many extra jobs, even 
in stormy weather. 

Years ago, the boys used to get ten cents a shine, 
but there has been so much competition since the 
" high-toned " stands made their appearance that no 
one will pay, nowadays, more than five cents a 

The Bootllacks. 75 

Perhaps you are wondering what the " high-toned 
stands " may be. Well, it is an odd name to give 
them, but that is what the little fellows call those big 
stands* with the comfortable arm-chairs and the patent 
iron foot-rests, where grown-up men do the " shining." 
Many crippled soldiers make a living in this way ; and 
on Court Street, at Boylston Market, in numerous al- 
ley ways, on the Common, indeed, all through the 
city you will find the " high-toned " establishments of 
these dangerous rivals in trade. 

The little fellows look with wistful eyes upon the 
grand " out-fit " that must have cost " such heaps of 
money." But if they can't give a comfortable seat to 
their customers what of that ? It isn't a chair and 
patent foot-rests, but just a pair of clean, highly-pol- 
ished boots that is wanted. 

It might, perhaps, console our little Boston boot- 
blacks if they knew their London brothers carried, 
just as they do, a small box slung across their shoul- 
ders which contains all their " stock in trade." 

The " Ragged School Shoeblack Societies " num- 
ber a great many recruits in London, and you can al- 
ways tell them by their dark gray suits piped with red, 
their bright jackets, and peculiar caps with number 
. and badge attached. Since the " brigade " waa 
formed, nine hundred thousand dollars have been 

76 Child Toilers. 

earned by these enterprising little fellows, and I don't 
doubt but that our Boston bootblacks are doing quite 
as well in proportion to their numbers. 

Rather a dirty, disagreeable trade, my WIDE AWAKE 
readers may think ; but let us not forget that a great 
part of Dickens' early life was spent in work just as 
lowly as this. I don't know that he ever actually 
blacked boots for a living, but I do know that with 
other poor boys ( in ragged aprons and paper caps ), 
he used to paste labels upon blacking bottles. 

After all, it isn't so much what we do as how we 
do it ; and the little bootblack who does his work 
faithfully, is worthy of far more honor than the better- 
dressed, but idle, thoughtless boys, who stoop to make 
fun of his smutty fingers. 


BEAUTIFUL Fresh Pond blue and sparkling in 
the summer sunlight, far behind the city 
spires and the glittering dome of the State House, 
and, here, just in the fore-ground of our picture, five 
little barefoot boys with hats thrown back, and ragged 
pants rolled up to their knees. 

" My ! Ain't it nice and cool, though ! " exclaimed 

" And ain't them lilies just ' stunners ' ! " echoed 
little, freckled-faced Ned. 

They have had a long, hot tramp from the city this 
morning, but that is all forgotten now. O, that 
cool, beautiful water ! The boys are almost tempted 
to take a " plunge " ; but time is precious, pennies 
must be earned, and there are the great creamy lilies 
all ready for the first picker. 


78 Child Toilers. 

" If we only had a boat now," sighs little Jack. 

" Pooh ! who wants a boat, as can wade like a duck ! 
Look'ee here, boys, I'll be cap'n and you foller ! " 
shouts Tommy, suiting the action to the word. 

And so the procession moves on, with many fright- 
ened cries from little Jack, who lags behind, and 
somehow manages to fall into all the muddy places ! 
But now the boys are knee-deep in the water, and al- 
though the very biggest lilies and the very pinkest 
buds always do seem to be just out of reach, and 
although many a dainty blossom near at hand snaps 
its long stem in the pulling, not many minutes have 
passed before each little fellow has his arms full of 
the fragrant " water queens." 

O, how fresh and pretty they are ! No wonder 
the sick lady who sees them from her carriage wants 
a handful, and bids her coachman call the boys. 
Tommy is the first to hear he is always first in 
everything ! and before the other boys are out of 
the water, he has scrambled through the bushes, 
reached the lady's carriage, and sold all his lilies, at 
a cent apiece ! 

But now he has none to carry back to the city, and 
.the other boys a little jealous of Tommy's success 
will not wait for him to gather more. The little 
fellow, however, is equal to the occasion. With 

The Flower -Venders. 79 

twenty-five cents in his pocket, he fe.els quite rich 
enough to buy at wholesale ; and since " a bird in the 
hand is always worth two in the bush," Ned, Jack, 
Michael and Teddy each agree to sell him a few of 
their lilies at a very low figure. So the bunches and 
the pennies are pretty equally divided, and the five 
boys, in the best of humor again, start off together for 
the city. Oh dear ! how fast the beautiful blossoms 
wither ! 

" We'll hev' to hev' a tub or a pail to put 'em in, 
just as soon as ever we can ! " says little Jack. 

" Umph ! I mean to sell mine 'fore they need a 
tub ! " says Ned. 

" So do I, but then you see I mightn't, after all ! " 
says Jack, who has a large bump of caution, and is 
rather apt to look upon the dark side. 

The boys sell, however, a few more of their lilies, 
on the way back ; and when they separate at Bowdoin 
Square little Jack feels quite encouraged. He and 
Ned are going up and down Washington Street, but, 
first of all, he runs home for his mother's old blue 
floor pail. 

" It'll be sort o' heavy to lug about, but thin I know 
it'll pay ! " says Jack to himself, as he dips the droop- 
ing white beauties down into the cool, fresh water. 
With the brightest of lily smiles they thank him, and 

8o Child Toilers. 

everybody that passes exclaims at their beauty. No 
fear, little Jack, but you will sell all your lilies to- 

Tommy prefers Tremont Street. It was down by 
St. Paul's Church that I first saw him, but that was 
weeks ago when the trailing arbutus came. With an 
eye to effect, he had fixed his little bouquets in a 
fanciful manner, sticking the stems through the iron 
fence, so that only the pretty pink and white flowers 
in their evergreen circle could be seen. 

" Fresh Plymouth May flowers, only ten cents a 
bunch ! " 

Such a clear, shrill voice, and such a bright little 
face ! He had sold a dollar's worth already, but early 
in the day the bunches had brought fifteen and 
twenty cents apiece. Then, he was only Mr. Some- 
body's agent, but now that the lilies have come he is 
selling for himself. 

"Yer see, m'am," he exclaimed, "May flowers 
can't be got round here. They pick 'em down to 
Plymouth and the Cape where the pink pond lilies 
come from, yer know, and sometimes they git a few 
of these 'butus flowers at Marshfield and Scituate. I 
s'pose boys there git five cents a bunch for 'em, thin 
they're sint up to Boston by express, all wrapped up 

The Flower -Venders. 81 

in cotton ( the flowers I mean not the boys ! ) and 
the big florists buy 'em." 

" But how much do they give you for selling 
them ? " 

"Oh! that depends! If we sell 'em for twenty 
cents a bunch, we git three cents ; two for fifteen, 
and only one-for ten ! " 

But little Julie Sullivan managed to do better than 
this, or rather her brother did for her. I wonder if 
you remember Julie's round, freckled face, and bright 
red hair ! She was standing on Winter Street near 
Music Hall, that particular afternoon ; but I imagine 
she travels up and down Washington and Tremont 
Streets, too. She is only eight years old, and so shy 
that you cannot get many words from her. 

But, by numerous questions, I find she lives on Es- 
sex Street, that her father, a day laborer, had his hand 
badly hurt on the railroad a few months ago, and that 
she and her brother Jimmy, who is a few years older, 
are doing what they can to help the family. The boy 
had been to the Old Colony Depot himself, bought 
the flowers from the man who had gathered them at 
Plymouth ; and he and Julie were selling them on 
the street at lower prices, but far better profits, than 
keen little Tommy ! 

82 " Child Toilers. 

And here, by the way, I want to tell you something 
about this same Jimmy that pleased me very much. 
He is a strong, hearty boy not handsome, by any 
means, but with a good, honest face that you like to 
look at. Just beside him on Winter Street that day 
so near that their baskets touched stood lame 
Johnnie Collins. 

Both boys were calling out, " Nice Plymouth May 
flowers ! " to the passers-by, and both were very eager 
to sell their bunches. At last, a lady stopped and 
looked into each basket. Timid little Johnnie leaned 
forward on his crutch, anxious to sell, if possible ; 
and, looking at Jimmy's face, I saw a real battle was 
going on, though he said not a word. 

The lady evidently wanted but one bouquet, and, 
although Jimmy's flowers were equally large and 
fresh, she seemed more inclined to patronize John- 
nie's basket. Now, instead of urging his own flowers 
upon the lady, as I am very sure some boys would 
have done, Jimmy at once devoted all his energies to 
the selling of Johnnie's bouquets. 

" There, mum," he said, pointing to one of the 
prettiest bunches in the lame boy's basket, "that's 
only ten cents, and it's rale fresh, mum ! " 

Johnnie looks up gratefully ; and, with eager, un- 


The Flower -Venders. 85 

selfish interest, Jimmy goes on to tell the lady how 
Johnnie was run over, down by the Albany Depot. 

" Why, mum ! he was in the hospital for months ; 
and he hasn't any toes, mum, but the big one, on that 
foot as is left ! " 

Before this explicit explanation, however, the lady 
has bought Johnnie's bunch of flowers, and has prom- 
ised to come and see both him and Jimmy. 

At the entrance of one of our large hotels here in 
Boston, you will frequently see, at noon, and early in 
the evening, a little flaxen-haired girl, with button-hole 
bouquets to sell. She is rather tall of her age, has a 
sweet, gentle face, and looks as if she might have a 
story, doesn't she ? Well, here it is, just as little blue- 
eyed Mary told it to me herself ; and though it does 
" read like a book" I find it all true. 

" I was nine years old, m'am, when I first began to 
sell flowers ; but that was four years ago. You see 
we were very poor. Father was dead, and mother 
was sick in bed. I was the oldest, and there were 
lots of little ones younger than me. One day mother 
was sicker than usual, and we hadn't a bit of coal in 
the house, nor anything to eat. Mother had just 
twenty-five cents left in her pocket-book that was 
all but I happened to remember how an aunt of 

86 Child Toilers. 

mine used to make a good deal of money by selling 
flowers. So I asked mother to let me take the quar- 
ter and see what I could do with it. Well, she let me 
have it, and I went right to a florist and got some 
flowers it don't take many, you know, for a button- 
hole, just a little bit of green and a few buds are 
enough and then I went around to the St. James 
and some other hotels, to sell them. Folks were real 
kind, m'am, and I made fifty cents, on that first quarter ! 

" Ever since then, I've kept on selling flowers ; I 
never go near the saloons, m'am, but I have found 
good sales for my bouquets at the large hotels. Now, 
I always come here, for the ladies and gentlemen 
know me, and do a great deal to help me. Some- 
times, they give me great, beautiful bouquets, that I 
can make up into lots of little ones. Here are some 
of them," and the little girl showed me two or three 
dainty little bunches a pansy and white pink with a 
bit of smilax between rosebud and heliotrope bou- 
quets that she sold at fifteen cents apiece. 

" They used to give me nice things, too, to carry 
home to mother pieces of chicken, you know, and 
such like why ! there's one particular place in the 
dining-room now, where they put my brown paper 
bag ; and I'm always sure to find it full when I go 
home at night ! Mother died last winter about Christ- 

The Flower -Venders. 87 

mas time, so I live with grandmother now. Usually, 
I earn about six dollars a week, that I carry home to 
her, but sometimes I can make ten." 

Brave little Mary ! She tells her story in the sim- 
plest, most unaffected way; but I know that for 
nearly four years she was the sole support and com- 
fort of that poor sick mother, and those little helpless 
children ! 

Now that she is growing into her teens, I wish our 
little flower-girl might have some better field of labor 
opened to her. I fear she has never been to school 
much her opportunities have been few and far be- 
tween but she is very quick, intelligent, and eager 
to learn. These hotel offices, however unexceptiona- 
ble they may be, are certainly not the best of school- 
rooms ; and I want such influences thrown about our 
bright, energetic little Mary that she may grow up 
into a good, noble, useful woman ! 

There are other little flower-sellers that I might tell 
you about the " Boston-rose-bud " boy who stands 
on Winter Street, and holds an odd little tray all full 
of holes, of different sizes, into which he tucks his 
bouquets. Sometimes, he has pretty little bunches of 
English violets, and great purple and gold pansies ; 
but " rose buds " seem to be his particular specialty, 
and he sells them at various prices, according to their 

88 Child Toilers. 

size and variety. Then, in the depots, at the ferries, 
in the cars, at the entrance of concert rooms and the- 
atres, you will find these little flower-venders, at all 
most any season of the year. At the holidays, and 
just before Easter, they sell more, perhaps, than at 
any other time ; but flowers are so fashionable, now- 
a-days, at all sorts of entertainments, that the trade 
in them is really very good all through the year. 

There are about one hundred florists in, and 
just about, Boston ; and boys and girls are frequently 
employed by them in picking and arranging the flow- 
ers. Very few, however, send children upon the 
street to sell bouquets. In almost every instance, 
you will find that the children themselves have 
bought the flowers at wholesale prices, and so sell in- 
dependently of the florists. 



UT we must hev the monish." 
That was what the old Jew said when Mr. 
Coles, the kind city officer who looks after these little 
steeet-waifs, took the child home. 

You see he had found Katrina playing upon her 
violin in one of those dreadful bar-rooms down at the 
North End. 

I don't think the little girl knew (when she stepped 
inside) what a bad, dangerous place it was ; she only 
thought of the pennies the rude, drunken men had 
promised her those bright, beautiful pennies that 
would save her from cross words and angry blows 

when she went home at night. 


9 Child Toilers. 

Poor little Katrina ! She is only eleven years old 
yet she has seen more of life and the dark side of 
it too than many thrice her age ! It is four years 
since she came from Italy. 

" When we lived there," says little Katrina, " I used 
to carry stones and mortar on my head to the men 
that were making buildings. They paid us fifty cents 
a day, and lots of us used to do that sort of work. We 
lived near Naples, and I've got two grandmothers 
and one grandfather there now ! " 

" And how did it happen that you came to Amer- 

" Well, father came over first, and when he got 
back he said I must learn to play the violin. So I 
took lessons three months, and we paid the man that 
showed me how, fifteen dollars five dollars each 

" And did you like to play ? "* 

" Oh ! ever so much and I learned to sing too ! 
Then father bought me a violin I guess he paid fif- 
teen dollars for it and it wasn't long after that we 
came over in a great big boat * I liked that ! " 

Little Katrina's black eyes sparkled as she told 
about that long, nice ride on the water. Evidently, 
she didn't know what it was to be sea-sick. 

"We stayed in New York a while after we landed 

The Street Musicians 91 

father, mother and me. I couldn't talk English then, 
but I learned by listening real hard." 

Katrina talks very plainly now, only hesitates some- 
times in getting hold of the right word. 

" Father and me used to go about together, he with 
the harp and I with the violin. Mother don't know 
how to play nor sing either." 

"And how much could you earn in this way you 
and your father ? " 

" Oh ! sometimes fifty cents through the day, and 
sometimes a dollar or a dollar and a half. We didn't 
stay long, though, in Ne,w York ; we lived longest in 
New Haven. Then father took us to Portland, but 
you know they don't have saloons there : so we couldn't 
get much money ! " 

An honest confession, wasn't it ? 

" But does your father let you go into saloons to 
play and sing ? " 

" He don't like to have me go alone, and I never 
stay very late ! " 

Since Mr. Coles found the child, some months ago, 
she has attended the Cushman school pretty regu- 
larly. The father found to his astonishment that in 
the good city of Boston he had no right to send his 
child out upon the street in school hours. Confirmed 
truancy, like confirmed drunkenness, is a culpable of- 

92 Child Toilers. 

fence ; and, according to Boston laws, children that 
cannot be kept in school are sent "down to the Island " 
for terms of six months to two years, according to the 
degree of offence. 

Little Katrina, however, is very glad to go to school ; 
indeed, it is the exception when the children them- 
selves rebel against the law. 

" After school in the afternoon," says our little 
violinist, " I generally go out on the street and play 
until eight and nine o'clock in the evening. Some- 
times I go alone up on Beacon Street ; I like to sing 
and play there. Once some bad boys made fun of 
me, but I spoke just as cross as I could to them, and 
when they didn't mind, I called a policeman ! " 

She is a funny little thing this Katrina! I 
think Topsy must have looked somewhat like her, 
only Katrina has an olive skin and Topsy's was jet 

Come with me, little WIDE-AWAKE readers, and I 
will show you another picture. 

Isn't it a funny-looking court, so narrow you can 
touch both walls as you pass between them ! And 
isn't this an odd-looking building? Why, it is so 
crowded and wedged In it makes one think of an old 
tooth that ought to be pulled to make room for new 
ones ! Up a few steps, down a few more, and we 

The Street Musicians. 93 

come to a little room that seems more like a den than 
anything else. Oh ! it is so low and dark and damp. 

There are two windows, to be sure, in it, but they 
are so little and so dusty that hardly a bit of light comes 

At one an old man with grey hair, but keen black 
eyes, sits busily at work. It is a shoe-last that he has 
in his hand, and under the table is any quantity of 
leather clippings. 

Shoe-making is his trade, but music is his delight ; 
and close beside the table is his harp such a large 
one that it almost touches the low ceiling ! On the 
wall hang two violins, and a third rests upon the win- 
dow sill. 

Pictures of all sizes, and all colors too, are tacked 
helter-skelter between the windows and over the chim- 
ney-piece, while just above the door hangs an old 
horse-shoe for luck, you know ! 

Pasquale is not at home that we can see for our. 
selves but the old father would like to explain why. 

He cannot understand our English, and we are 
equally ignorant of his rapid Italian ; but and 
isn't it funny and foolish ? we all begin to talk louder 
and louder, as if by this means we may at last come 
to make each other understand ! Finally, with a laugh, 
we give it up ; but the old man takes the covering off 

94 Child Toilers. 

his harp, tunes the really fine instrument, and gives us 
some excellent music. 

The violins belong to Pasquale, and his father is 
evidently very proud of his little son, for nearly every 
thing he tries to tell us has Pasquale's name in it. 

Close by the violin, on the window, is a large toy- 
boat very nicely made and rigged. The old man 
nods his head with delight when we notice it. Yes, 
it is Pasquale's work, no doubt, for he is a very intel- 
ligent boy. But what a pity he is not at home to-day ! 
However, we may find him on the street, and we are 
very glad to have seen just where and how he lives. 

Pasquale Carvalo ! That is his name ; and if a 
black-eyed, black-haired boy of twelve, with a fine, 
earnest face, happens to come to your window with 
his violin, give him a few pennies, and some kind 
words too, for Pasquale needs them all. He is doing 
wonderfully well in his studies at school, and if right 
influences are only thrown about him, I think he will 
make a fine man. 

And here is our little accordeon boy, Auguste by 

I first met him in a horse-car, and his little brother 
was with him that day. The two boys had been out 
to Brookline, they said, and had made fifty cents since 
they left home. 


Tlie Street Musicians. 97 

Many children in our city learn to play the accor- 
deon ; for it is much easier to learn, and the instrument 
is far cheaper than the violin. Sometimes you hear 
it well^played, and then the instrument sounds very 
sweetly ; but I remember two little girls, ragged, un- 
tidy children they were, who used to make most h6rri- 
ble discords upon them. And then when they tried to 
sing, too why ! everybody in the neighborhood ran 
to their windows and shut them down with a bang ! 
The children had mistaken their calling, like so many 
other people in this big world of ours. 

But there is one little boy I have not seen him 
a lady was telling me about him who has such a 
wonderful voice that crowds always gather when he 
begins to sing. 

His father carries a hand-organ, and I think the 
little fellow plays sometimes on a tambourine. But it 
is the rare singing of those beautiful Italian airs that 
brings the crowds and the coppers ! 

It is not often you see children, or women either, 
with hand-organs the instrument is too heavy to 
take about ; but I remember a woman once came into 
our street with a hand-organ fastened to a wheel-bar- 
row, and in the other half of this strange turn-out was 
a basket, and in the basket a real live baby just 
think of that ! And just think of being lulled to sleep 

98 Child Toilers. 

by "Captain Jinks" and "Molly Darling " ground 
into one's very ears ! But this strange baby seems to 
enjoy it don't you think she will be a musical won- 
der if she ever lives to grow up ? 9 

But the monkeys I havent told you a word 
abo'ut them, and they are most important personages 
among our street musicians. 

Why, yes, indeed ! don't they always draw the big- 
gest crowds and haven't I seen them playing on tam- 
borines and fiddles just like little men for all the world ? 

There was one, I remember, dressed just like a 
soldier in bright scarlet uniform. He had a sword at 
his side and a rifle on his shoulder, yes, and he 
knew how to use them too ! Of course he danced, 
turned somersets, made bows to those who had any- 
thing to give him, and snapped his great white teeth 
if anybody scolded him. 

Then I remember seeing another that was taking 
real comfort " in his own house." It was a curious 
little room where a number of hand-organ men had 
congregated ; and while the master was taking his 
lunch, Mr. Monkey was taking his ease, now resting 
upon his haunches, now eating with all his might, and 
running about like a school-boy let loose from study. 

Oh, dear ! what a strange, gypsey-sort of life these 
street-musicians have to follow ! Even the little boot- 

The Street Musicians. 99 

blacks look down upon them with pity, and are 
ashamed to own the fact if they have ever been in the 
business themselves. 

It may do very well for monkeys, but I heartily wish 
there was not a child in our city who had to earn a 
living in this wretched, beggarly way. Will the good 
day ever come, I wonder, when street musicians will 
just be an interesting matter of history ? 


RED, white and blue ! how they sway in the 
breeze, and how they glisten in the sunlight ! 

Pedro holds them high up, that every one who 
passes may see how bright and pretty they are. 

He is standing on the Common, just at the end of 
the long flag-stone walk that makes a diagonal cut 
to Boylston Street and Park Square. 

It is one of the very best places to sell his bal- 
loons ; for, no matter what time of day it is, there 
always seems to be a moving crowd just here. Some- 
times there is a long procession to and from the 
Providence depot ; and then a great many people 
who live on Columbus Avenue, Boylston Street, and 
the Back Bay, find this particular flag-stone walk the 
nearest as well as the pleasantest way " down town." 

Yes, indeed ! Pedro had a good eye for business 
when he chose his stand right here. 

" Only ten cents apiece ! " 

The Balloon Venders. 101 

Grave Papa Randolph has just come from his law- 
office, and is in a brown study over some puzzling 
"case in court," as he hurries on to catch the train. 

But Pedro has somehow managed to catch his eye 
and ear. 

The children ! why ! he had nearly forgotten 
them ! But here are these bright balloons would 
it be possible to carry them home ? 

Pedro seems to read his thoughts, for, taking out of 
his coat pocket a little flat bag with a bright magenta 
tube at one end he puts it to his mouth ; and in a 
few seconds holds up to the light the pretty red bal- 
loon he has blown up so quickly from what seemed 
but a bit of brown rubber. 

Another second the big, round ball goes off with 
a sharp whistle, and nothing is left in Pedro's sun- 
burnt hand, but a mass of wrinkled gutta percha ! 

The grave lawyer looks on with interest he likes 
to sift matters to the bottom and Pedro explains 
how the balloons already inflated that he holds up on 
the string are filled with hydrogen gas, but are not a 
bit better or stronger than those blown up with the 

" Only, to be sure, the hydrogen gas does make 
them a little lighter," adds Pedro who is anxious to 
tell the whole truth. 

102 Child Toilers. 

Papa Randolph, however, is satisfied with these 
convenient little empty bags that can be blown up 
with the breath, and stops to buy a white one for 
Maud, a blue one for Tom, and a red one for Harry ; 
and while he is tucking them into his pocket a lady 
somebody's dear mamma, I know, is asking Pedro 
for a couple more. 

Trade is brisk to-day, and Pedro will have to get a 
new stock of balloons by afternoon. Would you like 
to know just where he goes to buy them, and wouldn't 
you like to see how the pretty little things are made ? 

Let us follow him as he saunters down Boylston 
Street. -There ! he is just turning into Carver Street, 
and, if we hurry a bit, we can catch up with him. 

Dear me ! what a funny little doorway it is where 
Pedro says we must stop. I'm going to write down 
the odd sign just over the entrance, for it is a genuine 
curiosity in the way of spelling and punctuation. 
Here it is : 



put in order. 


The Balloon Venders. 103 

The sign is evidently home made, and is painted 
in red and black letters upon a white ground, so that 
it stands out in bold relief. The door, or rather gate, 
is very low and very narrow we will let Pedro go 
first, and then follow, one by one. 

" Bow bow-wow ! " Why ! what is this ? A big, 
black Newfoundland, sure enough, and I do believe 
Pedro trod upon his toes, for the dog and the kennel 
together quite fill up the narrow passage way ! There 
is plenty of room overhead, though, way up to the 
sky ! For it is an open court, and looking in between 
the old, broken-down, picturesque buildings I could 
easily imagine myself in some far away city of the 


These are the mysterious words we read over the 
inner door which is half way open. A stout, good- 
natured looking Frenchman answers our knock, and 
we step down into a dark little basement room that 
smells very strong of rubber and dyes. 

There is a nicely polished cooking stove that fills 
up a goodly portion of the room, and all sorts of 
" kitchen furniture " seem in the act of " changing 
places." Estoup can talk English, and understands 
it, too ; but he jabbers French a great deal faster ! 

104 Child Toilers. 

Yes, he has plenty of balloons already made, but 
the man who makes them for him is out of town to- 
day. Estoup, however, is very obliging. He will tell 
us just how the work is done, and some day, perhaps, 
we can come in again. 

Here are the sheets of rubber a peculiar kind of 
gutta percha that Estoup says cannot be bought in 
this country. 

"Way over England come," he explains, and 
when we take the rubber in our hands, its tint and its 
firm, close texture is quite different, we find, from 
ordinary rubber. 

Then Estoup takes up a forlorn looking little " wab " 
of nondescript color, puts it to his lips, and with 
every puff of breath we can see it grow bigger and 

" Him four parts see ! " and, like a miniature 
globe quartered in regular divisions, we notice how 
neatly and firmly the four parts of the little balloon 
have been cemented together. 

Then, Estoup brings out two big jars, such as- chem- 
ists use, and shows us how the vitriol is poured upon 
the pieces of zinc, and a kind of gas formed to in- 
flate the rubber. 

" Dye all through blue, red, white no wash 

The Balloon Venders. 105 

off ! " and Estoup puts them to his tongue that we 
may see for ourselves. 

" Pictures, flags paint-pot bad, poison the 
children ! These no harm never ! " he adds with 
many gestures. We nod assent, which brings another 
grimace of delight to Estoup's broad, good-natured 

" But how about the whistles do you make them 

" Out, out \ make all right here ! " 

Pedro buys a dozen of the balloons and pays 
seventy cents for them ; so we know just how much 
profit he gets when he sells them on the Common. 

" And do you have a great demand for the bal- 
loons ? " we ask Estoup. 

With just a bit of a consequential air, he shows us 
a large order he has lately had from California. 

" Me makes twenty-five gross a week sometime 
Fourth of July me no make them fast enough. " 

" But where is your little boy ? Doesn't he help 
you ? " 

" Oh ! non \ non ! him way off seminaire in 
France me no want him to make balloons me 
give him an ' educate. ' " 

Estoup fears we may not understand ; and repeats 
his words with gestures innumerable. 

io6 Child Toilers. 

With true fatherly pride, he talks about this little 
son who is to have such a fine "educate;" and we 
can't help wondering if the boy is making a good use 
of his opportunities. 

Surely, he ought to study very hard, and grow up a 
comfort and honor to such a loving, devoted father ! 

" Please, sir, can I have a cent's worth of that 
rubber ? " 

It is a child's voice^ and looking up we see a little 
girl standing in the door-way. 

Estoup welcomes her with a smile, and gets the 
cent's worth of rubber with as much alacrity as if it 
were one of those " big orders." 

You see he is every inch a Frenchman, and never 
forgets his manners ! I don't wonder people like to 
trade with him, for to be always obliging and always 
polite even in little things is the mark of a true 

As far as the making of toy balloons is concerned, 
I believe Estoup & Co. to have the whole monopoly 
in Boston. 

Doubtless many toy shops in the city especially 
the larger establishments send directly to New 
York or Paris for the ready-made article ; but Estoup 
and his man " Friday " know the secret, and I think 
their little balloons are quite as well made as those 
that come from a greater distance. 

The Balloon Venders. 109 

How ingenious all these French people are ! Why, 
if it hadn't been for their busy brains, I don't believe 
we should have had any sort of balloons, at all ! 

Ever and ever so many years ago, there was an old 
Catholic priest, Father Lauretus Laurus by name, 
who said if any one would take the egg of a goose, 
blow out the inside, and fill it with morning dew, 
something very wonderful would happen. 

But to see it best, you must put it out in the hot sun 
at the foot of a long ladder. Then, when the egg 
grew very hot, it would begin of its own accord to 
mount up the ladder round by round! Of course, 
this was all a fancy of Father Lauretus' brain, but 
you see he had the right theory, after all, about the 
expansion of heated air. 

It was a good many years after this, that Stephen 
and Joseph Montgolfier, two brothers who lived near 
Lyons, in France actually made a little bag which 
they called " balloon " from the French word " bal- 
lon " meaning " little ball." 

After a few experiments, just among themselves, 
they resolved to have a public exhibition in the large 
open square where everybody could see this wonder- 
ful little ball that was lighter than the air itself. 

It was a lovely June morning in the year 1783, and 
a great crowd gathered in the square to see this first 
ascent. The balloon itself looked just like folds of 

1 10 Child Toilers. 

paper ; but when a fire was kindled underneath, in- 
stead of burning up it began to rise higher and higher 
till at last "it was out of sight ! For ten minutes it 
hung suspended in the air, then floated gently down 
and landed in a vineyard a mile and a half from 
the city. 

Well, after this, the two brothers made a large 
bag. fastened a little basket to it, and into the basket 
they put a sheep, a cock, and a duck. These were 
the first living creatures that ever went "up in a bal- 
loon;" and they evidently enjoyed their funny ride in 
the air, for all three were bright and lively when the 
balloon came down to earth again. The cock's wing 
to be sure, was just a little lame, but that probably 
came about from his uneasy fluttering. 

Now, certain courageous Frenchmen began to won- 
der if it wouldn't be possible for themselves to take 
an air-voyage in just the same way. 

The wise and the cautious shook their heads and 
said it was a very fool-hardy, dangerous experi- 
ment j but Pilatre de Rozier, a young French natur- 
alist, was determined to run the risk. 

At last, he persuaded the Marquis d' Arlandes 
to go with him, and on the twenty-first of No- 
vember, that very same year, (1783,) they made 
their first ascent. 

The Balloon Venders. in 

Of course, this was a much larger balloon 
than any of the others, and I think the bag 
was made of silk, dipped into a solution of 
Indian-rubber. Then, instead of being filled 
with heated air like the Montgolfier balloons, it 
was inflated, if I remember rightly, with hydrogen gas. 

It was a dull, cloudy day when the two men 
got into the little car that was fastened to this 
mysterious air bag. 1 don't wonder the Marquis 
was a little frightened when the cords that held 
the balloon to the ground were cut away, and up 
up, three thousand feet they rose as if on the 
wings of some great bird ! 

There was a crowd watching them from the 
chateau gardens of Muette, where the balloon had 
been fastened; but Rozier and the Marquis soon 
lost sight of them. Six miles of space they 
traversed in twenty-five minutes, and when they 
were ready to come down the balloon was rest- 
ing over the Boulevards. 

O ! so many questions as they had to answer 
when, safe and sound, they fairly reached the 

The curious people flocked around them, like as 
many magpies, and those who had croaked loudest 

H2 Child Toilers, 

about the " wild goose scheme" were now ready 
to try the venture themselves. 

Since that ascent, there have been many others 
far more wonderful, but not one of greater in- 
terest or importance ; for this, you know, was the 
very first ascent that anyone had dared to make ; 
and to do what nobody else has ever done before 
always takes a deal of noteworthy courage and 

But we have wandered away from Pedro, and 
his little toy balloons. He is back at his post 
on the Common now; and there is a little girl 
not far away from him, who is selling balloons too. 

Really, I am afraid he will find her a danger- 
ous " rival in trade. " 

Sometimes, you will see the little empty bags 
taken about in a basket. 

There is a boy or rather man, I have seen 
on Washington Street, who has a wooden box 
slung over his neck with a leather strap ; and in 
the box he carries, among other articles, a new- 
fashioned kind of balloon that he sells at twenty- 
five cents apiece. 

It is shaped and colored just like Pedro's, but 
I see there are two holes instead of one, in the 
empty rubber bag. 

The Balloon Venders. 113 

A little metal tube is thrust into the first hole, 
and into the second a sort of flute whistle made 
of some bright colored wood. 

When I saw him, he was showing a young 
girl how to use it ; first, he blew up the bag by 
means of the little metal tube, and then as the air 
began to escape he moved his fingers rapidly up and 
down the long piece of colored wood. 

O dear, such an unearthly noise as it made ! I 
suppose he called it " music," but it sounded more 
like an Indian war-whoop than anything else I could 
think of. 

Perhaps " the boys " may enjoy this noisy toy, 
but I know the little girls like Pedro's balloons a 
great deal better. 

Why, it is most as good as a kite, to have one of 
these light pretty balls that float so quietly high up 
in the air. 

Sometimes they are fastened to a long stick that 
will easily bend without breaking ; but a good, stout 
string answers every purpose if the balloon is well 

It is a pretty sight to see the children at play with 
these bright toys on the Common and Public Gar- 
dens. In and out among the trees and shrubbery, 

H4 Child Toilers. 

they look like colored lights when the sunshine falls 
upon them. But, woe to the unfortunate balloon that 
gets caught and torn in the branches ! A hole as big 
as a pin's head is enough to burst the brilliant bub- 
ble ; and no doubt it is a very good thing for the 
trade that these pretty delicate toys are, at best, but 


DID you ever think what the word " peddler, '* 
comes from ? Sometimes we see it spelt "ped- 
lar " and " pedler ;" but the first way is the best 
at least so the big dictionary says, and of course it 
knows better about such things than anybody else. 

But it isn't quite sure, after all, what the word it- 
self comes from. There is the German "bettler" 
that certainly sounds like " peddler ; " but it means 
" beggar," and I don't like to apply that term to our 
busy little venders. "Pedester" is the Latin word 
for " going on foot," and perhaps it comes from that j 
but the Scotch term " pedder " is still nearer our 
word, and means one who carries a " ped " or basket. 
So, without questioning where the Scotch people got 
their word, I think we must have borrowed ours right 
from them, don't you? 


i!6 Child Toilers. 

Such a variety of little " pedders " and "peds " as 
\ve have in our Boston Streets ! Down by Boylston 
Market there is : or was a little fellow who ped- 
dled canes, and his " ped " was just an old tow bag. 
They were very modest walking sticks only ten 
cents apiece and as they were nicely polished I've 
no doubt he found a ready sale for them. 

Then, here is a little girl, Mary Wilton by name, 
who peddles candy, and her "ped" is a bright tin 
tray. All her candy is " home-made," so you needn't 
be afraid to buy it. She and her brother Willy live 
just over Charlestown bridge, and what they earn by 
peddling fruit and candy goes a great way towards 
supporting the family. 

A favorite place of Mary's is the right hand side of 
Court Street, as you leave Tremont Row. Sometimes 
you will find her sitting, with her little candy tray, in 
the doorway close by Pierce's grocery. I wish she 
could go to school and give up this, gypsy sort of 
life ; but the poor mother says she cannot get along 
without the money that Mary brings home at night. 
And so, unless the father gives up drinking, I am 
afraid our little girl will have to keep on with her 

Down on State Street you may meet little Joseph 
Conio some day, He's a funny-looking child with 

The Street Peddlers. 1 1 7 

hair cropped close to his head and great ears that 
stand out on either side like big cockle shells. 

When I saw him he was barefoot, and I presume 
you will find him so most of the year ; for boots and 
shoes, except in the bleakest of weather, are among 
the "non-essentials" with these little street urchins. 
But when you look at Joseph's eyes you'll forget all 
about his dirt and rags. The long lashes and heavy 
arched brows frame in a pair of liquid black orbs 
that would do for one of Coreggio's cherubs. . And a 
bright, honest face it is, that looks up into yours. 

Joseph is a great favorite with all who know him ; 
and he tells me he has one kind friend on State 
Street who, very often, pays him money but never 
will take a bit of his fruit and candy. 

Joseph says he is twelve years old, but he looks a 
deal younger ; and, when I say as much, the child 
gravely remarks : 

" I s'pose I'm so little 'cause I work so hard. 
Why, sometimes I carry eighty pounds of paper all 
at once ! " 

This leads me to question him further and I find 
that, now-a-days, he thinks it more profitable to col- 
lect waste paper than to peddle fruit and candies. 

" You see, they know me now at the offices there 
on State Street, and the gentlemen save the paper 

1 18 Child Toilers. 

for me. I cany down a big tow bag, fill it chuck full, 
and then take it round to the junk sho'ps." 

" And how much money do they give you for it ? " 

" A cent a pound ; and I generally carry down a 
good many in my bag." 

There are Frank, Poli, and a little sister whose 
name I've forgotten, all younger than Joseph, so 
whatever the little fellow can earn, whether by ped- 
dling or by picking up waste paper, is a great help at 

Then, here is another street-peddler, little Stephen 
Magini by name, whose flaxen hair and blue eyes 
look as if they ought by right to belong to some genu- 
ine Saxon child. His own brother Augustus, how- 
ever, has the usual Italian complexion ; and I find 
that little Stevie is no less a child of the sunny South 
than he. For in Italy there are two types of nation- 
ality entirely distinct in their looks, and Stevie's fa- 
ther, who has very light hair and eyes, belongs to one, 
while his dark-eyed mother belongs to another. 

Stevie is in school this morning he comes two 
hours every day and he stumbles through a spell- 
ing lesson with so much perseverance that I think he 
means to be a good scholar. But it is very funny to 
hear these Italian children try to spell English words. 
The e's are all a's and the i's e's to their ears ; for at 

TJie Street Peddlers. 


home they never hear anything but Italian. Stevie, 
however, picks up a good many English words on the 
street, so he has a curious combination just now in 
his little brain. 

If you meet a curly-headed, rosy-cheeked urchin on 
the street with fruit and candies to sell, who answers 
to the name of " Stevie," you may be pretty sure it is 
the very one I am telling you about. And, if you 
can, just stop and buy something out of his basket, 
for the money you give him will not be wasted. There 
are lots of little ones at home, and Slevie's mother 
finds it hard work to keep them all in food and clothing. 

Here is a little girl, at the entrance of one of our 
big dry-goods stores, who has cocoa-nut-cakes to 

" Only eight cents a dozen ! " she calls to the pass- 
ers-by ; but I do not think she finds a ready sale foi 
them here. By and by, I shouldn't wonder if she 
wandered up Tremont Street, so as to be "on the 
spot " when the school bells ring for recess. There, 
among the school-children, her little cakes will be in 
great demand, and she will sell them at so much a-piece, 
which is more profitable than to sell them by the 

Sometimes, at the entrance of public buildings, you 
will notice a placard printed in large letters, "No 
peddlers allowed here." Well, I suppose they are 

120 Child Toilers. 

oftentimes, a real nuisance ; for I know some of these 
little street-peddlers are veritable "tramps," and often 
have a long story to tell that hasn't a word of truth 
in it. 

I saw a little girl in the Post Office one day, hurry- 
ing along with a big basket on her arm that was cov- 
ered over with an old blue cloth. She was munch- 
ing away on a banana as if she wanted to get it out 
of sight as quickly as possible ; and when I stepped 
up to buy something from her basket, she started sud- 
denly, hung down her head, tucked the old cloth 
tightly over the fruit, and ran off out of the Post 
Office and down Water Street as fast as her feet 
could carry her. 

It was very evident that the child had stolen her 
bananas, but when I thought of the wretched home 
she had . come from, where her theft had, doubtless, 
been praised as "smartness," I felt more like pitying 
than blaming her. Poor little girl ! What will be- 
come of her if she is left to grow up under such 
wicked influences ! 

" Please, sir, won't you buy a cake of soap ? " 

It is a very pitiful voice, and the gentleman looks 
up to see before him a forlorn little specimen of hu- 
manity with two cakes of soap in her hand. 

" No, child, I don't want any to-day," 

" But please, sir, do buy one cake, mother's sick 


The Street Peddlers. 


and father can't get any work. I haven't had a thing 
to eat since morning." 

The gentleman keeps on writing, and the child 
keeps on whining. 

" But I told you I didn't want any soap. Here ! 
take this quarter and run off." 

This is just what the child expected ; those three 
cakes of soap, that she slid off the counter at the big 
store when no one was looking, she knows will last 
her all day, if she can only find the right persons to 
impose upon. For the child's story is all false ; and 
had the gentleman just taken the trouble to inquire 
into the matter he would soon have found out the 
truth for himself. When he does know it he will 
probably say : 

"They are all alike a thieving, lying set, the 
whole of them ! " 

But this is not so. There are, even among the 
poorest and most ignorant, those who are honest, 
truthful, and willing to work ; but we must learn to 
seek them out; must go into the "highways and 
hedges " ourselves, and then we shall know just who 
do need and are really worthy of our help. 

Some time ago, a little German girl came to a 
friend's house on Beacon Street and rang the. bell. 
She had a basket on her arm and in the basket were 

124 Child Toilers. 

trimming laces, pins, needles, sewing-silk and buttons. 

Now, it happened the lady wanted some of these 
very articles, and so she told the servant to bring the 
little girl up to her room. 

I don't think the child had ever seen so grand a 
house before. It seemed just like a dream to her, 
and she wondered if they were not stepping on real 
flowers as she followed the servant through the long 
halls and up the broad stairway. But if she had been 
" born to the purple," she couldn't have behaved in a 
prettier manner. Her neat dress, her gentle quiet 
ways, and her modest straight-forward replies to the 
lady's questions, showed, at once, how well she had 
been brought up. But my friend, although she was 
very much pleased and bought more of the little girl's 
wares than she actually wanted, was not satisfied un- 
til she had been to the child's home and proved the 
truth of her simple touching story. It was, as she 
thought, just as the little girl had said, and ever 
since then the poor struggling family have not wanted 
the help and encouragement of warm, true friends. 

It is curious to notice what a variety of articles are 
peddled now-a-days upon the street. Here is a boy 
with sponges, another with tooth-picks, and still an- 
other with the " little Harry lamps." In one door- 
way stands a keen-eyed Jew with neck-ties and scarf- 

The Street Peddlers. 125 

pins to sell ; in another, a man with rubber balls and 
funny toy spiders on an elastic string. 

Here are the new-fashioned crimping pins " just 
a few more left, ladies ! " and here are the " roly- 
poly dolls," and the reins with jingling bells. Tissue 
paper of all colors, plaster-paris images, books, chro- 
mos, imitation bronzes, eye-glasses, .jewelry, oil paint- 
ings ( so-called), and even live puppies, you will see of- 
fered for sale on our Boston streets. At the holiday 
season, why it actually seems as if all the stores were 
turning themselves inside out. 

But the indefatigable peddlers do not stop here. 
In the depots, at the wharves, on the cars, anywhere 
and everywhere they are not actually forbidden and 
there is any possibility of selling their wares, you will 
be sure to find them. 

Well ! it is certainly better than begging, and in 
these days when it is so hard to get any kind of work 
it is oftentimes the only way that many have of earn- 
ing a livelihood. 

I know of a man whose helpless family is dependent 
upon charity, just because he is too proud to do me- 
nial work or anything like peddling. One of his chil- 
dren is a little invalid, and if it were not for kind 
friends who send the child many necessaries as well 
as delicacies I don't know how the family would get 

126 Child Toilers. 

along. They live in a tenement house down by one 
of our large depots, and people coming into town 
have often noticed the pale sweet face at the window. 

One day, somebody threw a flower into the little 
girl's hands. She was so delighted that the next day 
they brought her some more ; and then others began 
to bring her fruit and toys and all sorts of pretty 
things. Finally they proposed that she should have 
a little basket which she could draw up and down 
from her window with a cord. And ever since then 
these kind friends who come in on the cars have kept 
the basket filled with all sorts of "goodies." 

It is one of the few bright spots in poor little An- 
nie's life, and I wish you could see her eyes sparkle 
as she draws up the mysterious basket. I don't 
know as we can class her among the little peddlers, 
but I couldn't lay down my pen till I had told you 
about her curious little "ped." 


HOW good the smoking chestnuts smell, as we 
turn the corner ! Yes, this very east wind 
that blows little Katie " almost to pieces " is truly the 
best advertisement in the world for her great 
brown nuts. 

Just see how nicely they are roasted. She has 
learned the secret of turning them at the right 
moment when they snap, you know and it is 
very seldom you will find a burnt one in the whole lot. 

Some of the nuts she keeps in a little pile at one 
side of her tray, for a customer may come and call 
for some raw ones; but almost everybody likes the 
roasted nuts better, and so she reserves only a few 
in the raw state. 

This little " roaster " of Katie's is an ingenious 


128 Child Toilers. 

thing in its way. It looks like a miniature stove, has 
a grate above, and a sort of oven beneath that holds 
the charcoal. Sometimes, in the short afternoons 
when she stays out after dark, she fastens a torch 
to the roaster j and very picturesque the little stand 
looks, and the little vender, too, in the flickering, red 

The smaller chestnuts were gathered by Katie's 
father and brothers, who walked a long distance to 
find them. 

I wonder how many of my Wide Awake readers 
know what it is to go chestnutting. 

Suppose, this bright afternoon, we try the fun 
ourselves. Up on the hill-side, where it is warm and 
dry, we shall find the best trees ; and long before 
we reach them, the rich, russet leaves among the 
evergreens and the oaks will point out the way, like 
so many lighted candles. 

How still the woods are ! All the birds have flown, 
excepting the little pewit and the big black crow ; for 
it is a long journey South, and the bob-o-links, the 
thrushes, and the finches, started weeks ago., Now 
and then a dead leaf drops to the ground with a 
crisp, rustling sound ; and a moment ago I saw a 
red squirrel dart across the path. There he is 
coming back again now with his cheeks full of nuts. 

The Chestnut Roasters. 129 

And here is his mate, just peeping out of their home 
in the old hollow tree Dear me, if we only had 
teeth like the squirrels and could climb as fast as 
they, how easy it would be to gather our nuts. But 
here we are, right under the beautiful trees, and just 
see what a soft, dainty carpet the falling leaves have 

Brown and green and gold what prettier combi- 
nation of colors could we have ? And here are tall 
straight trunks for pillars, and a bit of blue sky for 
our ceiling. Truly we are treading a king's palace 

But what is the matter with Robbie ? There he 
stands, shaking his little sun-burnt fingers, and crying, 

O, I see now what it is. He has picked off the 
tree the foolish boy a couple of those great, 
prickly, " shut-up " burrs, and is trying to open them 
himself. Ah, little Robbie, you must not be in such a 
hurry ; Jack Frost can do that work a great deal better 
than you, and these tight burrs were getting all ready 
for his magic touch to-night. You might as well 
throw them away at once ; for, even if you manage 
to split open the burrs, the nuts inside will be green 
and unfit to eat. 

Just see what Percy has picked up on the ground. 

130 Child Toilers. 

A dozen big ripe nuts that dropped off their ugly 
coverings long ago ; and Beth holds in her hand a 
wide-open burr, with three nuts all cosily packed 
together inside, like little brown birds in their soft 
warm nest. For the inside of the burr, you see, is 
just as delicate and silky as the outside is rough and 
prickly. Isn't it wonderful, how much care is taken 
to protect and ripen one little nut? 

Think of those beautiful spring days when the 
birds and the blossoms unfolded ; when April 
showers and bright May sunshine bathed and kissed 
the long fragrant tassels till, one by one, they flew 
away, and left in their places tiny green balls on the 
old, weather-beaten tree. 

You could scarcely see them at first, these wee 
little creatures they were so very small and weak ; 
but, day by day, the warm sun nourished them, and 
summer winds tenderly rocked them, till, by and 
by all over the tree these funny porcupine-look- 
ing burrs began to peer out in the sauciest manner 
possible. It seemed as if they knew how much time 
and care it had taken to make them, and what treas- 
ures they held inside; for tighter and tighter they 
clung to the tree, and no rude winds or rains could 
even peep in at their close-barred doors. It was no 
admittance to everybody till the little nuts inside 

The Chestnut Roasters. 131 

were fully grown and fairly ripe. Then the poor old 
burrs didn't care Jack Frost and the cold north 
winds and the driving storms might come and break 
open the doors whenever they pleased the big 
brown nuts were now able to take care of themselves, 
and as for the burrs, why, they were so tired out that 
they just longed to lie down on the dead leaves, and 
go quietly to sleep. 

Over the sea, in Gloucestershire, England, is an 
old, old chestnut tree that has given birth to more 
than a thousand generations of nuts. In King 
John's time it was known as a boundary mark ; and I 
doubt if there is another chestnut tree in all the 
world that is quite so old as this. 

But, on Mt. Etna, there is a very wonderful one 
that measures nearly two hundred feet in circumfer- 
ence. It is hard to imagine a tree so large as this, 
but just take a bit of string some day and put it 
around the biggest tree you can^find ; then you will 
understand better how many trees of ordinary size it 
would take to make one that would measure two 
hundred feet around, like this one up on Mt. Etna. 
One part of the trunk is hollow, and sometimes 
whole flocks of sheep with their shepherds get inside 
for protection from the sun or rain. 

Once upon a time, Joanna of Arragon, with a bun- 

132 Child Toilers. 

dred horsemen, all from the noble families of Catania, 
rode up the mountain side ; and just as the royal 
party reached this wonderful tree, there came up a 
sudden and very violent storm. 

At first, they hardly knew what to do, but the big 
tree threw out its great arms so invitingly that they 
drove in under the branches, and, sure enough, there 
was plenty of room for them all. Ever after that, 
the tree was called the " Hundred-Horse Chestnut." 

These European trees are not very different from 
ours, but the nut that grows upon them is much 
larger. The best kind for eating, the French call 
marrows; and all these big nuts that Katie has in 
her " roaster," have come from over the seas. She 
charges twenty-five cents a pint for these just 
double what she does for the natives, for she had 
to pay a good price for them, herself ; and each one 
of the foreign nuts is equal to a couple of ours. 

Little Augustus Magini tells me that when they 
lived in Genoa he used to go out into the chestnut 
groves about the city and gather the nuts, just as we 
have been doing to-day. 

"We'd shake the trees, and the big ripe burrs 
would tumble down," he says. 

" But did you never have any frost there ? 

" P'raps, but it wasn't cold like as it is here. Some- 
times, though, we did have n lif'le snow." 


The Chestnut Roasters. 135 

Just think of snow in sunny Italy ; but Genoa, you 
know, is farther north than Florence and Naples. 

" And they used to grind up the nuts and make 
flour out of 'em " adds Augustus. 

"And what did they do with the flour make 
bread and cakes out of it ? " 

Augustus is a little doubtful he was a very little 
fellow when they left Italy, and he doesn't quite re- 
member. But we know that puddings cakes, bread, 
and soup-thickening are made from this kind of 
chestnut flour, or rather meal ; and all throughout the 
southern portions of Europe, it forms a staple' article 
of food among the poor. 

Sometimes, the chestnuts are simply boiled or 
roasted, and eaten with milk ; but in whatever form 
they are taken, the nuts contain a deal of nutriment, 
and I don't know how the working classes could get 
along without them. For meat costs a deal, and 
chestnuts there, are very plenty and very cheap. 

Beside the flour, there is a kind of crumb like 
sugar made from the nut that is quite good for many 
purposes ; and all throughout Spain, Italy, Switzer- 
land and Germany, the wood of the sweet chestnut is 
much valued by cabinet makers and coopers. 

On the banks of the beautiful Rhine, along the 
slopes of the Jura, the Pyrenees and the Alps, you 

136 Child Toilers. 

will find the chestnut tree ; and in England, too, for 
there it is grown for coppice- wood and for building 
purposes, as well as for its fruit. 

The wood of the chestnut is very much like oak, 
both in color and texture ; and when it is well sea- 
soned, as in old buildings, it is very difficult to tell the 
two apart. Some say that the roof of Westminster 
Abbey is really made of chestnut, although it looks 
exactly like oak, and is usually described as such. 

In our own country, too, we find the native chest- 
nut wood is often used for hard finish in buildings, 
and for furniture. Sometimes, it is put with black 
walnut, and then the contrast of light straw with dark 
brown is very effective. 

During the latter part of the last century, Thomas 
Jefferson tried to introduce the European chestnut 
into Virginia, but I do not think it. has taken very 
kindly to our soil. We have plenty of horse chestnuts, 
but these trees are altogether different from the chest- 
nut whose fruit is fit to eat, and resembles the horse 
chestnut only in size. The tree itself, is so large and 
so beautiful both in its form and foliage, I don't won- 
der Salvator Rosa delighted to bring it, as often as 
possible, into his paintings. 

But here is little Katie, waiting to give us our pint 
of chestnuts and our change. 

The Chestnut Roasters. 137 

We have wandered " over the seas and far away," 
but we shall eat our chestnuts with all the better 
relish, for that. Chestnut vending, during the season, 
is quite the fashion here in Boston and on the Com- 
mon you will find another little girl, Adeline Barr by 
name, who sells chestnuts with her cakes and fruits 
and candies. 

Her father is a Greek, she tells me, and he is 
usually at the stand himself ; but when I saw little 
Adeline, she was " keeping shop " all by herself ; and 
I couldn't help wondering that so tiny a child should 
be left to take the entire charge. 

When the chestnuts first come, they seem to mark, 
as the strawberries do, a decided change of season. 

We can't help calling it " summer " no matter 
how early it may be whenever the great red berries 
make their appearance ; and so to-day we say, 
"Autumn and old Jack Frost have surely come, for 
don't you see the chestnuts are all ripe, and in the 
market ?" 


THERE are about one hundred and seventy- 
five boys in all, that flit about our Boston 
streets with these magic telegrams. And a busier set 
of little fellows except it be the cash boys I 
don't believe you will find in the whole city. 

The " Western Union " Office, including all its 
branches, employs about one hundred and fifty boys j 
and the Main Office on State Street has seventy-five 
of the whole number. 

I wonder if you have ever noticed their uniform. 
It is a dark navy blue, and the short coat has upon 
each shoulder a three-cornered piece of, red; while 
the pockets, if I remember rightly, and the pantaloons, 
too, are corded with the same color. 

The cap has a decided military air ; and the raised 

The Telegraph Boys. 139 

letters, " WESTERN UNION TELEGRAPH," are printed 
in heavy black upon a white band. 

These uniforms are all made in New York, and the 
boys each buy them of the Company paying fifteen 
dollars for the suit. 

No boy is allowed to have the position unless he 
wears the uniform ; and when the regulation was first 
put in force (a few years ago) it created a good deal 
of ill-feeling. 

The boys thought it unjust that they should be 
compelled to spend so large a part of their earnings 
in this way ; but after a little they began to see how 
much better it was to have an " official " suit. It 
gave a certain dignity to their work, and after all 
the price was just about the same as they would have 
to pay for any good suit of clothing. 

So I think there is not a word of complaint now-a 
days about the "regulation." 

The " District Telegraph " boys have a uniform, too, 
which is very like the " Western Union ; " but if you 
notice closely you will see that, instead of the three- 
cornered piece on their shoulders, they have a sort of 
clover leaf made of scarlet eord. *Then the letters 
upon their caps are just the reverse in color ; for the 
words, "District Telegraph," are printed in raised 
white letters on a black band. 

140 Child Toilers. 

The boys employed by the " Atlantic and Pacific 
Telegraph Company" have gray uniforms, something 
like the letter carriers ; but we do not often see them 
on the street for the whole force numbers now only 
about seventeen boys. 

So much for round figures and uniforms now a 
word about the boys themselves. Some of the little 
fellows are seemingly not more than twelve years old, 
but most of them are between the ages of fourteen 
and eighteen. Nearly every one is earning his own 
living, and many of them have others depending 
upon their earnings. 

The " District Telegraph " boys are paid three and 
four dollars a week by the Company according to the 
amount of work they do ; while the "Western Union " 
boys receive so much for the delivery of each mes- 
sage. I believe the lowest price paid is two and a 
half cente, and the highest twenty-five. 

The " Union " boys at the Main Office are arranged 
in three divisions each numbering twenty-five boys. 
By this means the day and night work are very 
evenly divided. 

The boy who* through the week is kept up latest 
goes by the name of the " Good-night boy." 

Hither and thither all through the city, and at all 
hours of the day and night, the little fellows hurry 

The Telegraph Boys. 141 

along with their dispatches. And just think what 
important messages they carry in those great yellow 
envelopes ! 

Here is a " Western Union " cap dodging in and 
out among the crowds on Washington and Tremont 
streets. He is hurrying on as fast as he can, for 
somebody's darling lies just at the point of death, 
and the few words he carries are fraught with terrible 
import for somebody. 

While he is on his way, another boy is carrying a 
message of good news the safe arrival of some 
dear friend in a foreign port ; and here is another 
with a mysterious urgent request that only the re- 
ceiver can understand. 

The rise and the fall of gold, the fluctuations of 
the market, weather records, war news, political nom- 
inations, the latest word from Congress all matters, 
whether of public or private interest, which flash across 
the wires are recorded at the various Offices and de- 
livered by these swift, trusty little messengers in an in- 
credibly short space of time. 

As I stood waiting in the Main Office, and. read 
upon the walls, "Messages sent at all hours to all 
parts of the world," I couldn't help contrasting the 
world of to-day with the world of " a hundred years 
ago." Then telegraphing seemed but an idle dream, 
too wonderful to be ever realized. 

142 Child Toilers. 

Perhaps you have read how at first they tried for 
each message as many wires as there are letters of 
the alphabet; and when, in 1816, Ronalds thought a 
single wire would do, he was told by the British gov- 
ernment that " telegraphs of any kind are now wholly 
unnecessary, and no other than the one now in use 
will be adopted." 

Just think what a remark that was for enlightened 
England to make. 

But she couldn't stop the busy brains from think- 
ing and wondering and planning. 

Dyar, Ampere, Baron Schilling, Moncke and Cooke, 
one after the other, kept the ball of inquiry and ex- 
periment constantly in motion ; and each added some 
new suggestion to the growing idea of a practical 
system of telegraphing. At last, in 1835, tne fi fst 
actual electric telegraph was constructed in England 
from Paddington to Drayton, a distance of thirteen 
miles. There were five needles connected with it, and 
the six wires, wound round with hemp, were laid in 
pipes along the surface of the ground. 

Four years later, a certain Dr. O'Shaughnessy 
built at Calcutta the first over-ground line of iron 
wire, which he drew over bamboo poles. 

But it remained for our own countryman, Samuel 
F. B. Morse, to perfect the great discovery; and it 


The Telegraph Boys. 145 

was during his voyage home from France in 1832 
that he first conceived the idea of making signs at a 
distance, by means of a pencil moved by an electric 
magnet. The model he formed had but one conduct- 
ing medium, and the paper was moved under the 
pencil by clock work. This he made in 1835, but it 
was not till 1844 that the first public telegraph was 
laid in our country. It extended from Washington 
to Baltimore, a distance, as you remember, of forty 
miles. Since then, there has been no end to the lines 
of telegraphing that have been laid all over our 
country from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast ; and now, 
as you know, the great ocean itself is spanned by the 
same magic wire ; for Cyrus Field conquered every 
difficulty and showed us how even the deep waters 
could be made a connecting medium. 

Of course my WIDE AWAKE readers know how the 
messages travel over the wires ; but perhaps they do 
not quite understand what the District Telegraph 
means; there are only four offices in Boston one at 
the South End Post Office, one at the State House, 
another on Brimmer Street, and the fourth at the 
Brunswick Hotel. It was at this latter office that I 
saw how the system worked. 

There are ten boys employed here, and they are on 
duty ten hours each day. Of this number, two are 

146 Child Toilers. 

up all night, and the ten take turns in sharing this 
night work. Their uniform I described as being very 
similar though quite distinct from the Western Union 
boys ; and I might have added that it is a good deal 
fresher-looking, for the " District " boys have not 
been so long in " office." 

At the Brunswick, there are three circuits of the 
District Telegraph ; and as the name implies the lines 
are all confined to city limits. The various wires in 
the office are connected with private houses and are 
for the especial convenience of those who may desire 
immediate attendance. 

A strip of paper passes under the electric needle, 
and each of the three circuits^ has a separate instru- 
ment. While I was there a call came from one of 
the circuits, so I had the satisfaction of seeing just 
how the whole thing was managed. 

When the needle moves a bell rings once, if it is 
just an errand boy that is wanted ; twice, if a police- 
man is called ; and three times if any one desires a 
hack to be sent to his residence. Well, this time the 
bell rang twice, very violently, too, and the clerk in 
charge quickly lifted up the paper under the needle, 
read the number of dots pricked upon it opened a 
little drawer just above that had the same number 
printed upon it, found in the drawer the gentleman's 

The Telegraph Boys, 147 

address ; and, in far less time than I can possibly 
write it down, it was all done and the policeman run- 
ning fast to relieve the frightened household. 

The truth was that in one of those pretty brown 
stone fronts on the Back Bay there was just then, 
even while I sat there, a great commotion. 

It seems hardly possible that anything of the kind 
could occur in such a locality of the city ; but we 
must remember that even in the most elegant of 
mansions there must always be a " down-stairs " as 
well as an " up stairs." 

Now a certain Maria in one of these lower domains, 
had been cook and queen for so many years that 
nobody thought of disputing her rights- She could 
make the whitest of bread, the puffiest of pastry, the 
lightest, most mouth-melting of cakes indeed, there 
seemed to be nothing in all Miss Parloa's art to which 
this fat Maria was not equal. But alas ! she had one 
great failing and the little black bottle on the cor- 
ner shelf in the cupboard told the whole story. 

Well, on this particular day that I began to tell you 
about, the children up in the nursery heard a great 
outcry from the basement. 

Harry was the boldest of the little trio, and scam- 
pered down stairs to see what was the matter ; but 
eoon, with all the color out his rosy cheeks, he came 

148 Child Toilers. 

running back crying at the top of his lungs. The 
little fellow was terribly frightened, but managed to 
tell his mamma that there was a big rough man in the 
kitchen, that Maria had thrown a plate at him, and 
that her face was just as red as red could be ! 

" Oh, dear ! " exclaimed nurse ; " it is that horrid 
son of hers and they are having a regular drunken 
quarrel clown there dear, I shouldn't wonder if they 
killed each other ! dear, what shall we do ? " 

Nobody dared go down and separate them, but sud- 
denly mamma thought of the District Telegraph that 
had been brought to the house only a few days 

" Why, we can send right away for a policeman I 
never thought we should need our telegraph for 

A little click of the magnetic wire, twice repeated, 
an answering " click click " at the office, and then 
a third "click, click" at the Police Station (for 
there are wires from each District Telegraph Office 
to the various Fire Departments, Hack Stands and 
Police Stations in the city); and then, before Harry was 
half through his crying, the policeman stood at the 

The boys tell me that, of the four uses made of the 
District Telegraphing, the call for messengers to run 
errands comes the most frequently \ then the call for 

The Telegraph Boys. 149 

hacks ; while the alarm of fire is about as frequent as 
the double click for policemen. 

At the Office at Hotel Brunswick, many of the 
boys understand how to manage the telegraph battery 
themselves ; and one little fellow who has been there 
quite a long time receives an extra dollar a week for 
work done in the Office. 

At the State House Office thirty " District " boys 
are employed ; at the South End Post Office ten ; and 
at the Brimmer Street Office only three are needed. 

It is about four years since the system of this Dis- 
trict telegraphing was put into working order j and a 
year ago last August a Telephone Despatch Company 
was formed. The three offices of this latter Company 
are on Washington Street, Charles Street, and under 
Hotel Berkeley. 

Only sixteen boys are as yet employed in all the 
telephone offices combined ; but as the business 
increases the number needed will of course be larger. 

Their uniform is hardly distinguishable from the 
" District " boys except by the caps which have " Tell 
ephone Despatch Co." in gilt letters upon the black 

The different circuits go to private houses in the 
city, and the principal advantage the telephone sys- 
tem has over telegraphy is that spoken words travel 
even faster than those electrically written. 

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hai and Macao were visited in turn. The ship then sailed 
for the Philippine Islands; and at Manila, one of the loveliest 
and most picturesque cities of the Southern Pacific, two or 
three happy weeks were spent. From that pore the home- 
ward course was taken, the vessel doubling the Cape of 
Good Hope and sailing up the African coast. The story of 
the voyage is gracefully and vividly told. The jolly times 
on shipboard; the sights seen from deck; rough weather 
experiences; the excursions made at the various stopping 
places, and the adventures and misadventures attendant 
upon them; the scenery, customs of the different people 
visited, together with innumerable incidents of the trip, are 
described with a freshness and vigor which render every 
page of the book thoroughly enjoyable. The illustrations 
which accompany the text are made doubly interesting from 
the fact that they are engraved from photographs procured 
on the spot and brought home by the author. 

JESTTS, LOVER OF MY SOUL. Exquisitely illustrated. An 
elegant small Quarto gift-book. Gilt edges. A compan- 
ion volume to " The Ninety and Nine." Boston: D. Loth- 
rop & Co. Price, $1.00. 

There is no more beautiful hymn in the English language 
than the one which furnishes the title of this exquisite little 
volume. Many readers will remember the affecting story of 
the wreck, where one of the lady passengers, cut off from all 
hope of escape, clinging to a rock from which every wave 
threatened to tear her hold, poured out her soul in these 
sweet words of trust. The artist, Mr. Robert Lewis, has 
seized upon this incident as the subject of one of his most 
effective drawings. The entire series of illustrations are ex- 
ceedingly fine, the work of Mr. Lewis as draughtsman hav- 
ing been ably supplemented by that of Mr. Dana as the en- 
graver. The volume forms a beautiful presentation book, 
and though equally attractive with the three and five dollar, 
volumes which fill the counters of our bookstores, is sold at 
the nominal price of one dollar. The interest of the work is 
larely added to by an eloquent preface from the pen of the 
Rev. \V. B. Wright, of the Berkeley Street, Church. 


Adapted from the French of P. J. Stalil by Ella Farman. 

Boston : D. Lothrop & Co. Price, 75 cts. 

In a series of capitally drawn sketches the artist tells the 
story (assisted by the author) of a mischievous little girl who 
undertook while her mother was confined to her room by ill- 
ness, to set things to rights generally about the house. She 
paints mustaches on a portrait which her artist papa has just 
finished; tries to color the lap-dog's face black with ink and 
spills it over herself and the floor; attempts to wash her 
papa's gray hat with the inky sponge; breaks the mantel 
clock in trying to wind it; pours boiling water into the globe 
of goldfish to make them more comfortable; cuts off the 
corners of her mamma's nice shawl so it will not drag in the 
street, and does a variety of other things which no one but 
an idle and inquisitive little girl would ever think of doing. 
The book is printed on fine paper, with double line border 
about every page. 

By John Brownjohn. Boston: D. Lothrop & Co. 50 cts. 

Everybody has read and laughed over the adventures of 
Miltiades Peterkin Paul, which were brought out in a taste- 
ful quarto volume last holiday season. Miltiades, it appears, 
had a cousin, a charming young lady of six or seven, who, 
although city born and bred, possessed certain peculiarities 
which rendered their companionship congenial. Miss Mus- 
lin, for that was her name, was continually doing something 
to get herself or some one else into a scrape. Her experi- 
ences after a time were varied by a visit to Miltiades in the 
country. The troubles they get themselves into and what 
was said and done about them are told in detail by the author 
in the same offhand, humorous style in which the adventures 
of Miltiades were chronicled. The drawings are from the 
pencil of Livingston Hopkins, one of the best American 
caricaturists. The volume is got up as a companion to the 
book of last year. 
Music FOR OUR DARLINGS. Edited by Dr. Eben Tourjee 

Fully Illustrated. Boston: D. Lothrop & Co. Price, $1.25. 

Hundreds of young readers will remember the beautiful 
book issued last year called Poems for Our Darlings. It 
proved so successful that this season the Messrs. Lothrop 
have brought out a companion volume called Music for Our 
Darliitys, containing nearly forty favorite pieces of music, 
most of them with piano accompaniment. Among them are 
"Pretty Fido," "Turkey Song for Thankgiving," "The 
Squirrel," "Gentle Robin Redbreast, " "The Railway 
Train," etc. In addition there are prefatory sketches and 
articles on music by Prof. Tourjee, who edits the books, 
and over fifty full-page engravings. It is beautifully bound 
in cloth, wiih black and gold ornamentation. 

LINKS IN REBECCA'S LIFE. By "Pansy." Price, $1.50. 
Boston: D. Lotbrop & Co. 

"Pansy" has no rival as an author of the hest class of 
Sunday-school books. Her " Ester Ried" and "Chautauqua 
Girls " series are models in that important line of literature. 
Her new book, " Links in Rebecca's Life," is worthy of a 
place in the same list. This book is an admirable one. Its 
tone is healthy and stimulating, without a trace of senti- 
mentalism or cant: and its characters are thoroughly natu- 
ral, such as any reader can recognize in the community in 
which be happens to live. The heroine, Rebecca, is intense- 
ly human, with a noble nature in which many weaknesses 
hide themselves and come often to the surface. But she is 
a Christian of the best type, and her aspirations and hard- 
fought battles inspire enthusiasm in a reader. The Com- 
mittee on International Lessons couldn't do a better thing 
than to circulate this book in every part of the land. It 
shows how the lessons may be made helpful in the daily 
life, and how the Old Testament may be taught witli in- 
terest to an Infant School, or to men and women of every 

ECHOING AND RE-ECHOING. By Faye Huntlngton. Price 
$1.50. Boston: D. Lothrop & Co., publishers. 

It shows great ignorance of the Sunday-school literature 
of our day, when one calls it weak and namby-stuff, with an 
equal mixture of love-stories, and impossible adventures. 
The censure is just for a certain class of books, but a large 
library may be gathered of first-class works admirable alike 
in moral tone and in literary execution, books which every- 
body can read with delight and profit. "Echoing and Re- 
echoing" is a book of this sort, a well-told story, abounding 
with practical lessons, and inciting to a noble Christian life. 
The most intelligent opponent of religious novels will find 
his prejudices giving way in reading it, and a fastidious lit- 
erary reader will be thankful that children have such good 
books for moulding their literary tastes. 

B. BY BUXTIXO. Short Stories wUh Bright Pictures. 3y 
the Best American Authors. Boston: D. Lotbrop & Co. 
Price, $1.00. 

Baby Bunting is a beautiful quarto with one of tho most 
attractive outsides we have seen for a long time. It is made 
up of choice stories adapted to the reading of children from 
f mr to eight years of age. They are all short, few of them 
being ovr a page in length, and each is accompanied by a 
full page engraving. It is just the kind of book that ought 
to be popular, and undoubtedly will be. 


Yon go. Boston: D. Lothrop & Co. Price. $1.50. 

This handsome volume is the first of a series, which will 
include the principal countries of Europe, the succeeding 
numbers of which will appear at brief intervals. Miss 
Yonge, whose talents have been exerted in various directions 
for the benefit of young readers, has been peculiarly success- 
ful in this series, which has had a very large sale in Europe, 
and deserves a like popularity here. It covers not only the 
entire period of Gentian civilization down to the present 
time, but it gives an account of ancient Germany and its in- 
habitants in time which might almost be called pre-historic. 
The first chapters are explanatory of the German mythology, 
and of the ancient methods of worship. The N"ibelungen 
Lied is described and its story tokl. The real history begins 
about the year 490 A. D., at a time when the Pranks were 
the victorious race in Europe. From that time down to the 
beginning of the present year the record is continuous. The 
volume is profusely illustrated. 


By favorite American authors. Boston: D. Lothrop & 

Co. Price $1.00. 

We venture to say that no publishing house in the country 
will issue this season anything choicer in the way of a pre- 
sentation book of poems than this charming volume. The 
poems it contains were written expressly for Mr. Lothrop, 
and have never before been brought together in collected 
form. Among the authors represented are Elizabeth Stuait 
Phelps, Clara Doty Bates, Margaret G. Preston, Ella Farman, 
Mrs. Piatt, Harriet McEweu Kimball, Mary A. Lathbnry, 
Nora Perry, Mrs. L. C. Whiton, Celia Thaxt'er, Edgar Faw- 
cett, and many others. Although the volume is ostensibly 
preferred for children, it is one which grown-up people will 
equally enjoy. There are a score or^moreof illustrations, 
most of them full-page, exquisitely drawn and engraved. 

is one of the most popular 

YOUNG RICK. By Julia A. Eastman. Large 

i6mo. Twelve illustrations by Sol Eytinge . $i 50 

A bright, fascinating story of a little boy who was both a bless- 
. ing and a bother. Boston Journal. 

The most delightful book on the list for the children of the 
family, being full of adventures and gay home scenes and merry 
play-times. "Paty" would have done credit to Dickens in his 
palmiest days. The strange glows and shadows of her character 
are put in lovingly and lingeringly, with the pencil of a master. 
Miss Margaret's character of light is admirably drawn, while Aunt 
Lesbia, Deacon Harkaway, Tom Dorrance, and the master and 
mistress of Graythorpe poor-house are genuine "charcoal 


A. Eastman. Large i6mo. Illustrated . i 75 

While this story holds the reader breathless with expectancy 
and excitement, its civilizing influence in the family is hardly to 
be estimated. In all quarters it has met with the warmest praise. 


Julia A. Eastman. i6mo. Illustrated . i 50 

BEULAH ROMNEY. By Julia A. Eastman. 

16 mo. Illustrated ..... i 50 

Two stories wondrously alive, flashing with fun, sparkling with 
tears, throbbing with emotion. The next best thing to attending 
Mrs. Hale's big boarding-school is to read Beulah's experience 


By Julia A. Eastman. 16 mo. Illustrated, i 25 

A remarhabls book, crowded with remarkable characters. It 
is a picture gallery of human nature. 


A. Eastman. 16 mo. Illustrated . i 50 

"A delicious April-day style of book, sunshiny with smiles on 
one page while the next is misty with tender tears. Almost every 
type of American school-girl is here represented the vain Helen 
Dart, the beauty, Amy Searle, the ambitious, high bred, conserv- 
ative Anna Matson ; but next to Kitty herself sunny little Paul- 
ine Sedgewick will prove the general favorite. It is a story fully 
calculated to win both girls and boys toward noble, royal ways of 
doing little as well as great things. All teachers should feel an 
interest in placing it in thu hand.; of their pupils." 

By Pansy. I2mo. Illustrated I 50 

' Pansy knows girls, and has the gift of story-telling, by which 
tha hard facts of every-day life take on a charm as of fairy-land. No 
one can look into 'The Chautauqua Girls' without feeling the 
subtle fascination of its pictures of quiet life, and being drawn into 
warm sympathy with the four friends who long to form noble char- 
acters. They have been won to a love of Jesus by attending a 
camp-meeting at Chautauqua ; but they find it so hard to be true 
to their new impulses, and to carry the spirit of the Bible into 
every-day life, that the story of their struggles, disheartening fail- ' 
ures relieved by partial successes, is very human and full of genuine 
pathos. It is good summer reading, for beguiling away hours, and 
inspiring with generous purposes.*' 

"Pansy's last book, 'The Chautauqua Girls at Home,' is as 
fresh and inspiring as a fine morning in June. The four friends, 
Marion, Ruth, Flossy and Eurie, are of genuine flesh and blood, 
with the petty weaknesses that flesh is heir to, and the noble aspi- 
rations that come at times to every high-minded girl. Their unlike- 
ness to each other in character and social position, and their mutual 
helpfulness in all sorts of difficulties, make a delightful story ; in- 
structive as well as fascinating. One finds it hard to lay down the 
book after beginning the first chapter. It will find many readers 
who will welcome its stimulating power to high aims in life, and to 
patience and hope in fighting hard battles." 

Boston: D, LOTHROP & CO., Publishers. 


.A. 33- 

Illustrated Monthly Magazine 

&2.00 A YEAR. - - 20 CENTS A NUMBER. 

Postage paid by Publishers. 


Begin with January and July, but Subscriptions may begin 

J). LOTIIROP & CO., Publishers, Boston. 

WIDE AWAKE is bright and fresh. It is full of good things in 
print and pictures, and a vein of cheery humor runs through it 
which its young readers will find particularly agreeable. The 
Magazine is a thoroughly good and a thoroughly wholesome one. 

Messrs. D. Lothrop & Co., Boston, publish the best and most 
delightful books for Home Libraries. Their list includes every 
style and grade, from the Large Print Picture Book for the 
Nursery, to the Student's octavo volume. 




Their books being approved by a Committee of Eminent [-it- 
erators, selections may be made with the utmost confidence 
that none but good books are on their catalogue. The Contrib- 






WISE AND OTHERWISE, . . . .1.50 


THE RANDOLPHS, . . . .. .1.50 






BERNIE'S WHITE CHICKEN; to which is added, 

HELEN LESTER ; to which is added, NANNIE'S EX- 

A CHRISM AS TIME, . . .15 

MODERN PROPHETS, .... $1.50 
DR. DEANITS WAT, . . . 1.25 

THOSE BOYS, . . : . $1.50 

MRS. DEANS' S WAT, , 1.25 

D. LOTHEOP Ss CO., Publishers. 


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